BILLINGHAM finished their season in style topping the 100-points mark with the win over a Percy Park side with one eye on their promotion play-off.
The Teessiders return to the national leagues at the first time of asking after being relegated to North 1 East last season, and Park have a chance to join them if they win the play-off game at Preston Avenue against Liverpool St Helens.
Just before kick off the heavens opened which made handling difficult for both teams, but the home side seemed to cope better with the conditions and opened the scoring after 20 minutes as Park failed to clear their lines after a territorial kick by Billingham.
Two minutes later they crossed the try line again, before Park’s problems were compounded with Andy Dunn being sin-binned, then fly half Phil Morse left the field with an injury.
Park never got into gear in the first half, and when Billingham scored before half time to take the score-line to 17-0, things looked ominous for the North Shields side.
In the second period Park coughed up possession whilst in attack and the dangerous Billingham backs ran play back a full 50 metres to score a converted try on 50 minutes.
The rain eased and Park also managed to stifle the Billingham possession opting to keep the ball tight where they had the upper hand.
The home side looked lively every time they had the ball in hand and a cross field kick found player coach Chris Hyndman in space to score their fifth try of the game and take the score to 29-0.
Park never gave up and attacked the Billingham line before knocking on close to scoring a try. The resulting scrum however, was won by Park and driven to the line with No.8 Hamish Lockwood getting a consolation try for the visitors which John Scott converted.
Five games in 15 days has brought its toll on Park. The team now have seven days rest before the all important play off, with a chance to make amends for last year’s last minute defeat at the hands of Burnage.
Kick-off is at 3pm although the club house will be open from noon onwards for what will be one of the busiest days of the season.
PERCY PARK LIONS 17
BILLINGHAM LIONS 28
WITH several players moving up from the Lions to the 1st XV, this had a knock on effect on the side which went down to Billingham in the final game of the season.
The Lions have exceeded all expectations finishing third in Candy League 1 after promotion from Division 2 last season.
It was good to see try scoring Chris Reekie back in a Park shirt; the other points came from Kieran Casey’s two tries and a conversion from Stevie Irving.
PERCY PARK PUMAS 22
NOVOS III 17
PARK’S 3rd XV ended the season on a winning note coming back from 0-17 down at half time to win 22-17.
Tries came from Anthony Edwards and Johnny Lee (2) with veteran Gary Davy kicking two conversions and a penalty.
northumberland senior cup
PERCY PARK 12
TYNEDALE RAIDERS 6
CAPTAIN John Scott led from the front and kept the cup away from Tynedale’s grasp for a second consecutive season as his side won a close, forward orientated contest in the damp gloomy conditions at Ashington.
Park had to make changes to the side that defeated Durham City at the weekend, with lock Craig Fidler and fly-half Ash Smith both out with injury and Kai Downey Stephenson back with the marines.
Games between the two sides in recent years have been a close affair and so it proved with both defences holding firm, meaning the game was fought out between Phil Morse and Will Massey with the Park fly-half coming out on top kicking four of his five attempts.
Early in the second half the game was marred with a nasty leg injury to Johnny Ward, and the game was held up for several minutes as the young Park winger was taken from the field on a stretcher, awaiting an ambulance from nearby Wansbeck Hospital.
Park had more scoring chances than their counterparts, but could not quite do enough to legitimately cross the try line, the closest being Hamish Lockwood who thought he had scored before referee Mick Harris brought play back for a knock on.
As the medals were presented to the runners up, the cup itself was noticeable by it’s absence, and everyone looked around to point fingers of guilt at who had or had not brought the silverware from the Percy Park trophy cabinet.
County President Tom Richards gave out the winners medals and the Park players then left the field towards the nearby ambulance to celebrate the victory with their injured colleague before he left for A&E with a suspected broken ankle.