PERCY Park’s patchy away form resurfaced as they lost to Sheffield at Abbeydale.
The home side opened the scoring with a Donal Collins penalty after only two minutes, which was cancelled out by a Simon Greetham penalty four minutes later.
Greetham could have put Park in the lead soon after but pulled a long range effort left.
The visitors had chances to cross the Sheffield line but were denied by last ditch tackling by the Yorkshiremen.
Ali Blair cut through several defenders and with the line beckoning was tap tackled from behind and stopped metres short, as was Michael Langlands a few minutes later.
Just before the half-time Collins kicked his side in front for a 6-3 lead.
In the second half Greetham had the chance to level the scores from long range but his kick went wide.
When Park were penalised for coming into the ruck from the side back chat cost a further ten metres and Collins made no mistake with his penaltyk.
Park reshuffled the back line and were awarded a penalty on the Sheffield 5-metre line, and what followed could only be described as surreal.
Despite calls from the coaches to opt for the scrum, Dave Griffiths stepped up to kick to the corner.
His lethargic punt into touch, five metres out and the same distance from the touch line, was kicked straight into the hands of an advancing Sheffield player who had not retreated behind the goal line.
He then sped off up the pitch to everyone’s amazement and from a great attacking position Park found themselves defending in their own half.
Another Collins penalty followed before Andy Dunn crossed the line after several phases of play for a try, the first Sheffield had conceded at home since October 2011. Greetham added the conversion.
Sheffield struck back and immediately encamped near the Park line, before scrum half Matt Poste exploited a gap to go in for a try under the sticks.
Park now needed to score twice for the win, although one score would bring them into losing bonus point territory.
With five minutes to go, Park were awarded a penalty on the ten-metre line but a scuffle between Dunn and Tommy Marples saw a yellow for Dunn and the penalty reversed.
Percy Park still had time to snatch something from the game and a fine break by Ash Smith took him to the Sheffield 22. Keeping play alive, the stand-in stand-off popped the ball up to blue and white shirted player coming back from an offside position to cries of foul from the Park faithful.
The whistle went with no added time played and another chance to close the gap on the play-off spot went begging.
MORPETH RFC REIVERS 21 PERCY PARK RFC LIONS 22
PERCY Park Lions advanced to the final of the No. 2 County Cup with a narrow win over Morpeth Reivers.
Tries from Colin Murphy and Liam Blackburn cancelled out two penalty tries for Morpeth and although Morpeth scored a third try through Liam Allen, 12 points from the boot of Paul Spowart were just enough to give Park a final spot for the third consecutive year.
The final will be against Alnwick II who were given a walk over against Morpeth Edwardians. The game will take place on March 31, kick-off 2pm.
BLYTH RFC III 0
PERCY PARK RFC PENGUINS 61
WITH most of the Penguins playing only their third game of the season, they booked a place in the final of the No. 5 County Cup.
The early exchanges were fairly even as both sides sounded each other out and Blyth resistance was hard to break down.
The scoring started on ten minutes, then at regular intervals thereafter.
The Penguins played some flowing rugby with Jean Pierre Rives running in numerous tries and converting not very many.
Notable try scores on the day were Sam Walton, Andrew Clyde, James Baldwin, David Fairlamb, Alex Giles, Shaun Helme, Tony Turner, Colin Gillespie and Chris Dunn.
The final also takes place on March 31, kick off 4pm against Rockcliff Rangers.