Park made to work hard for Lymm win

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GOING into Saturday’s game, Percy Park were three wins from three while Lymm had only won one of their league fixtures so far.

Statistics pointed to a Park win, and the pundits on the National League forum all predicted an emphatic bonus point win.

Lymm, however, did not read the script and set off like a runaway train, with no after effects of their three-hour journey to get to Preston Avenue.

If points were awarded for possession, then Lymm would have won this game comfortably.

Sadly for them, they could not convert the territory into tries or pressure into penalties and Park won their fourth league game in a row.

It was yet another bright sunny afternoon, although a little cooler than previous weeks, with no wind to speak of.

Lymm kicked off and for the first 20 minutes, Park never ventured out of their half.

The green machine pounded away at the Park defence, but the home side held firm, and against the run of play could have scored after a break out but were penalised for crossing in midfield on their first excursion into enemy territory.

Lymm had the first kick at goal to break the dead-lock, but Tom Smith’s effort was pulled wide.

The Lymm forwards made several inroads into the Park defences, but could not finish off the opportunities they made.

Although the visiting pack won their side plenty of ball, and hung on to it, the Lymm back line were less effective, and Park were able to break their line on a couple of occasions, with Adam Morton coming close after 22 minutes.

Park finally broke the deadlock on 34 minutes. After making headway down the left with Michael Stephenson coming into the line at pace, with a two-on-one with Jimmy Baldwin on the wing, Richard McEvoy for Lymm deliberately knocked on, intercepting the try scoring pass and the referee awarded a penalty try without hesitation, sin-binning the offender for good measure. Ash Smith kicked the conversion.

Lymm kicked off and Park secured the ball through Craig Fidler, before taking play back up inside the visitors half.

Play was forced into touch but the Lymm lineout was over thrown and Jack Davidson snaffled the loose ball and set off up field.

From the ensuing ruck Smith carved up the Lymm midfield and off-loaded a well timed flat pass to Brett Sylph who was on his shoulder. The Park No. 8 ran in the final 25 metres to score under the posts, and a shocked Lymm side were now down 14-0.

With the first half drawing to a close Park lost possession inside their own half and the visitors attacked the try line with Ollie Higginson going over for a try on 38 minutes, which went unconverted.

The second period was only a minute old when the visitors infringed and Smith took a kick at goal but was wide of the mark.

Park had more of the possession in the second period but it was Lymm who scored first with a typical forward try from lock Ollie Giles after several phases of play. Again the conversion was missed.

Although Lymm had about 60 to 70 per cent of the possession in the game, Park had more scoring opportunities and should have scored a push-over try but for Sylph tripping just short of the line and knocking on.

Despite further Lymm attacks, the Park defence held firm and Smith stretched the lead with a penalty on 77 minutes.

The green and whites had several opportunities to draw level, the best coming from a driving maul from which the ball was shipped wide out to the right, but the final pass went into touch when a try seemed the likely outcome.

With Park in possession with several minutes injury time already played, John Scott kicked the ball dead to end the game, and the Park supporters breathed a collective sigh of relief.

On Saturday Park travel to Birkenhead Park.

PERCY PARK PUMAS 51

GATESHEAD IV 12

THE Pumas continued their good run of form with a comprehensive win over Gateshead IV.

The win keeps them top of the Northumberland River Blyth League.

PERCY PARK ‘B’ 54

MEDICALS ‘B’ 14

THE Marauders were due to play their first league game of the season, but sadly Ponteland Pythons were struggling to raise a side, so the decision was made early in the week to cancel the fixture.

With Medicals II and III both looking for a game, Park fielded a mixed side of second, third and fourth XV players in a friendly fixture.

In the end Medics turned up short of a few players, but Park sportingly made the numbers up and 30-plus who would otherwise have been kicking their heels, managed a game of rugby on a fine Saturday afternoon.