Last kick miss costs Percy Park victory

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Percy Park travelled to Bingley in West Yorkshire having made two changes to the side that defeated Billingham the previous week with Andy Dunn and Ali Blair both ruled out with injury.

At the start of the season Park won 45-15 at Preston Avenue but since then both sides have struggled, reflecting their relative positions towards the bottom of National 3 North.

The game itself on a wet pitch was fairly evenly matched, but the added commitment from the home side saw them take maximum points although Park did manage two bonus points and could have easily made it three had the last kick of the game been converted.

The beefier home pack had the advantage in the set scum, but it was a steal against the head on half way that led to Park’s first try with Michael Langlands picking up and charging up the pitch.

The last ditch tackle by the Bradford fullback saved a certain try, but Park retained possession and after a series of rucks Michael Langlands touched down on four minutes to give Park an early lead. The conversion from Toby Davison looked to be going over, but the ball held up on the wind and hit the crossbar.

A missed touch kick by Park allowed the home side to set up an attack with openside Chris Fisher crossing the line for an equalising try and again the woodwork got in the way of the conversion attempt by Phil Greaves.

Bradford and Bingley took the lead on 20 minutes with a try by wing Michael Wellington and the Greaves conversion gave the home side a 12-5 lead.

Three minutes into the second period Park scored their second try with a sweeping movement down the right side of the pitch with quick hands sending Guy Pike though the midfield. Two well judged passes by Pike to Walker then to Davison saw the full back go over for the try.

When Jack Davison was yellow carded on 48 minutes for persistent offending, Bradford took advantage with blind side Adam Malthouse scoring an unconverted try to take his side further ahead 17-10.

Park were always in the game, but with skipper Michael Langlands off the pitch with a nasty eye injury, the side seemed to lack a little in confidence.

Stand in skipper Guy Pike led by example though and when he charged down a clearance kick by the home side, he retrieved the loose ball but slipped on the wet turf. An offload from the ground to Olly Walker saw his fellow centre race up the pitch to score. Sadly the post once again denied the conversion.

A series of penalties led to scrum after scrum for the hosts with Adam Malthouse eventually going over for his second try of the game on 66 minutes.

With 14 minutes remaining Bradford looked the more likely side to come away with the win having secured their bonus point for scoring four tries.

Park never gave up however, as time ebbed away they too had a series of penalties to move ever closer to the Bradford try line. Another penalty was awarded and with the referee Mick Harris indicating last play, the ball was tapped and a ruck set up close to the home try line.

Wave after wave was launched against the solid defensive line, but Park edged closer and closer and eventually Jack Davidson drove over for an important bonus point try.

Toby Davison had the chance to draw level with the last kick of the game. The Bradford players charged, some may say prematurely and the kick went wide.

The cheers from the home players and supporters showed how much the win meant, and although they are still in the relegation zone they move to within five points of Park.