Percy Park begin year by completing double over Billingham

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Percy Park stopped their run of consecutive defeats with a 33 point haul in the second half to earn a bonus point win in the Tyne Tees derby against Billingham.

Park had won the reverse fixture earlier in the season and were looking for the double to kick start the second half of the season to secure National League rugby for next season.

The hosts welcomed back Ali Blair and Josh Hedley from injury.

The game started with floodlights on early against the gloom and the promised rain did not materialise which allowed both sides to play some free flowing rugby in a game which had ten tries.

Billingham began with more aggression and determination which paid off for them with a regulation try for right wing Matt Kirby in the corner, which Pete Evans converted.

Park had several forays into Billingham territory but gave away a couple of silly penalties to ease the pressure on the visitors.

The home side did equalise on 25 minutes when a clearance kick found Oscar Pritchard, and the young winger tore into the Billingham midfield taking several tacklers to bring him down. Josh Hedley was stopped just short of the line, but Todd Harrison saw the smallest of gaps and picked up from the base of the ruck squeeze over for the try which Toby Davison converted.

On the stroke of half time, Billingham’s man of the match Luke Wilson broke through the Park midfield to score under the posts.

The second half started with a bang as Sean Williamson went over for a try after two minutes. Michael Langlands had made a good break but was hauled down short of the try line. Patient play saw the Park lock go over in the left hand corner for the unconverted try.

Percy Park had picked up the pace of their game and continued to threaten the Billingham defences, and took the lead on 47 minutes when Jack Davidson finished off a try after an excellent offload by Andy Dunn put the Park openside through near the line.

A catch and drive from a line out deep in Billingham’s 22, saw skipper Michael Langlands score Park’s bonus point try. The drive had initially been stopped, but the ball was recycled and another well timed pass from Dunn put his skipper in for the score. Davison converted and Park were now well in the driving seat with a 26-14 lead.

Billingham threw everything at the home side but in their eagerness to chase the game threw an interception which Guy Pike gratefully received and then put fellow centre Ali Blair away for a 80 yard dash to the line to test his hamstrings. Peter Evans was in hot pursuit but Blair had enough gas to cross the line for the try which was converted by Davison.

Less than three minutes later Park were on the attack again, and another caught and driven line out was steered over the try line with hooker Dunn getting the touchdown and well deserved try for his day’s efforts.

The Teessiders never say die attitude saw them come straight back. An attacking move down their left flank saw Park wing Olly Walker stick out a hand to intercept a pass which resulted in a knock on which was deemed deliberate, and Park were reduced to 14 men.

Billingham capitalised attacking Park’s right wing and scored two tries in three minutes, the last on 80 minutes, giving them a valuable and deserved bonus point for scoring four tries.

This extra point keeps Billingham just above Park in the league.

Next week Park travel to Bradford and Bingley.