Percy Park do enough to win scrappy contest at Driffield

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Percy Park’s trip to Driffield on Saturday was a low scoring game in which both defences snuffed out most scoring opportunities.

When chances did come along, both sides were guilty of errors which made for a frustrating game for the spectators.

Park travelled to Kellythorpe through the foggy Vale of York that threatened to postpone the game with visibility poor, a no wind to blow away the ground level cloud, although the nearer to the venue the more the mist lifted and at kick-off time although dark the game went ahead with no problems.

Driffield scored all their points within a minute of kick-off and then a minute from half-time with a Robin Kitchen penalty to open proceedings and a John Dervey try before the break, an early Christmas present for the lanky lock forward. In fact both first half tries, the first from Park, emanated from mistakes.

With eight minutes gone and the visitors putting pressure on the East Yorkshire side, Andy Dunn charged down a clearance kick and followed up to dive over the line to touch down just before team-mate Josh Hedley.

The conversion from Ash Smith was pushed wide of the sticks but Park led 5-3.

The rest of the half was a dour affair with a high penalty count but with neither side in range to add to the score line.

As the interval approached Park were in their 22 and a back pass for a clearance kick to relieve the pressure went through the legs of Toby Davison. Scrambling back, the Park full-back appeared to get finger tips to the touch down for a five-metre scrum, but the follow-up by John Dervey was rewarded with a try as Park went into the break 8-5 down with the conversion missed.

The second half proved no more entertaining than the first, other than a fine break by Ali Blair which was pulled back for a forward pass, but from the resulting penalty two minutes in Ash Smith levelled the scores 8-8.

Driffield spurned a good deal of their possession choosing to kick away ball rather than keep it in hand as their back line could not penetrate the steel wall that was the Park midfield.

After a spell of play in the home side’s 22, Park’s second try came from Guy Pike, but Smith could not add to the point tally with the conversion attempt.

The penalties continued to mount and eventually Stu Cannon was given a yellow card for being offside in the middle of the pitch as the referee’s patience ran out.

As the half wore on, the physical nature of the collisions saw several stoppages for running repairs to players from both sides.

When Driff’s fly-half Kitchen was bandaged up and returned to the fray, he looked like a cross between Pudsey Bear and Marley’s ghost as he moved to the full-back position.

As the little amount of light available began to recede, it became difficult to distinguish between the blue and white hoops of the home side and the black and white hoops of the visitors; but there was no mistaking the referee in a pink and lilac combo, and white boots!

The final minutes of the game ebbed with the light and any chance that the Driffield pressure could be converted into points was snuffed out when their replacement back row had a rush of blood clearing out from the side of a ruck, and the resulting penalty allowed Park to kick the ball to touch for a lineout.

There was still time for one more play, but the game ended with a knock-on and the final whistle went to the relief of players and supporters alike.

A win’s a win, and Percy Park stay in second place in the league, just behind Sheffield.

Next week the 1st XV play Pocklington at Preston Avenue, kick-off 2.15pm in a game sponsored by Carlsberg.