Percy Park bring Doncaster’s 37-game winning run to an end

Percy Park's Ricki Hasnip, a try scorer against Doncaster Phoenix.
Percy Park's Ricki Hasnip, a try scorer against Doncaster Phoenix.

Percy Park stoked the burning embers of last week’s away performance at Driffield to set fire to Doncaster Phoenix’s record of 37 straight league wins.

In doing so they toppled them from top spot in North 1 East, ending a 20-month unbeaten run.

Park have a habit of raising their game against league leaders as last season and the one before saw an undefeated Dinnington, then Sheffield and Chester before them lose at Preston Avenue.

Park welcomed back skipper Andy Dunn to the side, and with full-back Michael Groves out injured,, Lome Fa’atau moved to 15. Ricki Hasnip also returned to inside centre, and several of the Donny players will no doubt be nursing bruised bodies from their efforts in trying to stop his bullocking runs throughout the game.

The home side had all the early exchanges in a fast paced game in which the visitors seldom emerged from their own half for the first ten minutes.

John Scott assumed kicking duties and was just off target with his first penalty attempt, but Park did open their account with a try from Hasnip on 16 minutes. After several phases of play Ali Blair came back on an inside angle but was stopped on the 22. The recycle ball was moved left and fellow centre Hasnip took another inside ball to burst through juggling the ball to keep control before powering over the line. Scott kicked the conversion from in front of the posts.

Percy Park doubled their lead ten minutes later as Fa’atau picked up from a ruck and broke through a hole in the Doncaster defence to score, and again Scott converted for a 14-0 lead.

Phoenix looked dangerous with ball in hand and ex-Doncaster Knights player Jamie Lennard orchestrated the attack from fly-half with the limited possession they were able to muster.

The Yorkshire side managed to score two tries just before the break, the first coming from a midfield break after a Phoenix lineout just inside the Park half. James Holland broke through but a loose pass gave Park a chance to snuff out the attacking option. Unfortunately the ball continued to bobble around and centre Andy Ellis kicked through for No. 8 Adam Kettle to score under the posts. Jamie Lennard kicked the conversion.

Right on the stroke of half-time Dave Hankinson broke loose down the right flanker and ran under the posts for a converted try on 45 minutes to level the scores at 14-14.

After the break Park resumed the pressure and it looked as though the Donny skipper Ellis had put his side ahead as he crossed the line, but the final pass to him was judged to have gone forward by the Liverpool exchange referee.

It was Park who broke the stalemate on 53 minutes after they were awarded a free kick for a scrum infringement by the visitors front row. A bit of backchat earned Park a penalty that Scott converted for a 17-14 lead.

Percy Park continued to harass the Doncaster side and mounted a series of attacks with scrum-half Jimmy Baldwin eventually going over for an unconverted try to give them a 22-14 advantage.

Doncaster obviously not used to being kept on the back foot started to loose a bit of composure and were lucky not to have anyone sent to the bin as several penalties in the red zone ensued couple with a bit more chat to the ref which went unpunished.

The table toppers are renowned for their fitness but this time were unable to rise from the ashes.

Park’s bonus point try came almost from the restart following the Baldwin try. The ball was batted back by Jonny Dubois and retrieved by Ethan Wilson who surged into the Phoenix half. Park retained possession through several phases before Scott chipped over the rush defence and Samoan speedster Fa’atau picked up the ball and ran down the left wing evading the covering defence and scoring in the corner. Scott was unable to convert the difficult goal attempt but Park were well worth their 27-14 lead.

With the clock being wound down Doncaster were awarded a penalty with the last play of the game. Park were guilty of napping as openside James Holland took a quick tap and broke through a couple of tackles on the line to score. Jamie Lennard had the chance to earn his side a losing bonus point but the conversion was pushed across the face of goal as the final whistle went.

Park move up a place to mid-table seventh, and next week travel to Doncaster to play Wheatley Hills.

Alnwick RFC 2nds 29

Percy Park RFC Lions 36

Candy League Division 1

Percy Park Lions made the trip up the A1 to Greenfields to hopefully avenge their home defeat to Alnwick earlier in the season.

The side travelled with 15 players and secured a bonus point win with tries coming from Harry Watson (2), Ben Robertson, Stefan Varty, Rich Berne and a penalty try. Paul Spowart kicked three conversions.

Percy Park RFC Pumas 29

Rockcliff Vikings 19

Northumberland River Aln League

This game was moved from Rockcliff to Percy Park at the last minute as the Lovaine Row pitch was waterlogged.

The Pumas managed to secure their first win of the season with a bonus point with a make-shift side with only two recognised backs in the line-up.

A sterling performance by Darryl McDine earned him man of the match with tries coming from skipper James Leckie, chairman of rugby Thomas Turnbull, Andy Clyde and Stu Cannon (2). Ian Bradley kicked two conversion in the 29-19 victory.