THIS was the first time Percy Park 1st XV had played at Malton & Norton despite the ground being less than two hours away.
Malton are the new boys to the North 1 East league having been champions of Yorkshire 1 last season, and have had a mixed season so far, going well until last week’s slip up at Old Crossleyans.
Park were looking to carry on the form from last week’s emphatic win against Team Northumbria, although they had to contend with a couple of late changes to the side – Simon Greatham (illness) and Zak Appleby Rutter (unable to travel).
This allowed Ash Smith to move back into his favoured position at outside centre, Thomas Turnbull moved to the wing with a late call up and 1st XV debut for Jonny Ward who started on the bench.
Both sides are known for their open brand of rugby, and although conditions were good for running rugby, there were a lot of errors from both sides.
Park had a chance to open the scoring with a Marcus Rutter penalty after five minutes, but the attempt was wide.
Although Smith and Ali Blair had made a couple of breaks it was Malton and Norton who came closest to scoring a try. A fine break was halted by the Park defence inside their own 22, before Jack Davidson was sent to the sin bin for playing the ball off his feet and slowing down the opposition ball.
The home side actually crossed the Park line a few minutes later before play was brought back for a Percy Park penalty as the referee adjudged one of the Malton backs had obstructed a would be tackler.
The home side’s top points scorer Teei Piawi renowned for his accuracy with the boot, missed a penalty chance and then intercepted a long pass in the Park three quarter line but luckily for the visitors he slipped and fell before he could get into his stride and Park scrambled back to snuff out the attack.
The Park forwards as usual had the upper hand in the scrummages and from one scrum in the Malton half scrum half John Scott put in a well placed overhead kick to the wing with Turnbull in pursuit. Unfortunately he was penalised for being in front of the kicker and Malton & Norton cleared their lines.
With the half coming to an end with neither side on the scoreboard, it fell to Rutter to put Park in front with a penalty on 47 minutes, after which the whistle went for the end of the first period.
Park’s narrow lead lasted for all of one minute, when from the kick off for the second half Park knocked on and were then penalised as a player in front had played the ball. Piawi kicked the penalty to level the scores.
Less than a minute later Park earned a scrummage on the home side 22.
As is the modern way of No. 8’s these days, Sean Williamson, under the close attention of Tom Collard the Malton scrum half, played the ball through his legs to skipper Scott who raced down the blind side with Turnbull in support.
The Park scrum half feigned to pass then stepped on the gas to go though the gap and score a vital try which Rutter converted on 43 minutes.
Park had the better of the second period despite losing Phil Morse to the sin bin for a dubious high tackle. From the penalty Piawi went for the posts on 56 minutes but his kick fell short.
Park were only at a numerical disadvantage for a couple of minutes as blind side flanker Andy Mitchell oddly enough wearing the number 10 shirt, was sent to the sin bin for Malton for being on the wrong side of a ruck as Park were attacking.
Smith made a searing break through the home defences only to be stopped a few yards short.
Park now looked the more likelier side to take the points and when they were awarded a penalty on the Malton 22 for a high tackle on Scott, rather than kicking to the corner for the line out, opted for the kick at goal. Sadly the kick went wide.
With only minutes to go, Park found themselves defending furiously to keep the North Yorkshire side at bay.
The game was well into injury time when the home side were awarded a penalty inside the Park 22. Rather than kicking to the corner they took the scrummage.
Malton won the scrum and eventually hooker Alex Whittaker scurried over on hands and knees from a ruck to score, with a successful levelling the scores.
Piawi lined up his kick which was charged by two Park players, and the referee halted proceeding as the Malton kicker had not started his run up.
Then with everyone anticipating the raised flags of the touch judged behind the posts, the Cooke Islander scuffed his kick, hitting the post and the ball stayed out.
The whistle went and Park had earned four valuable away points.
PERCY PARK LIONS 7 TYNEDALE RAIDERS 36
PARK entertained table topping Tynedale who are yet to lose a game this season.
The Corbridge side took a first half lead of 17-0 before Park hit back in the second half with a try from Kieran Casey. This was a gutsy display by a young Park team who ran out of steam a little at the end when Tynedale ran in a couple of tries to take the score on to 36-7.
NORTHERN III 18 PERCY PARK MARAUDERS 29
THE Marauders maintain top spot in the Northumberland River Blyth League with this away win at McCracken Park.