Park make it three in a row for senior cup success

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PERCY Park were looking to make it three senior cup wins in a row as both sides took to the field for the 120th Northumberland Senior Cup final.

Both sides and an expectant crowd were all set for the 7pm kick off until the officials realised there was no match ball, delaying proceedings for ten minutes while a ball was found.

Park kicked off and immediately put their opponents under pressure, spending much of the first five minutes inside the Morpeth half, before Phil Morse broke down the left and took several defenders with him before setting up a ruck from which the ball was spun right with Michael Stephenson coming into the line at pace to score an unconverted try in the corner.

From the kick off, Park did not secure the ball adequately and Morpeth retrieved the ball before being awarded a penalty which James Phillips slotted.

Park scored their second try through Ali Blair, again wide on the right after quick ball found the pacey winger in space, but again the conversion was off target. Morpeth then cut the deficit with another Phillips penalty.

At this point referee Wayne Falla issued a team warning to Park for repeated infringements, but it was Morpeth who suffered the first yellow card as their hooker was sent to the bin for collapsing a maul.

With the numerical superiority, Park again using wide ball scored on the left flank with a long miss pass from Ash Smith finding Liam Blackburn to race in for the try and a 15-6 lead.

Percy Park started brightly in the second period and with only four minutes of the half played, Smith put in a cross kick to the right wing, with Blair unmarked. It looked as though he had overcooked it, but the ball stood up and Blair raced in and touched down just before the ball went dead. Smith hit the post with the conversion attempt.

Although Morpeth were 20-6 down, they did not give up and when awarded a penalty five metres from the Park line, tapped and set up a maul which was driven over the line, with Andrew Duggan claiming the try. The missed conversion meant Morpeth needed two scores to win the game with 10 minutes remaining.

Percy Park mounted another attack and replacement Jonny Dubois went on a surging run being stopped short of the line. Blair was on hand to pick up and go over for his hat-trick and Park’s fifth try. Phil Morse took over kicking duties, but found no more success as his attempt shaved the right hand post.

The final whistle sounded and Park had retained the cup.