Percy Park enjoy narrow win in first game since November

PERCY Park enjoyed their first league game since November 20 last year – but even this fixture was in doubt right up to the morning of kick off.

Earlier in the season Park had beaten the Woodhead side at home, but with so many weeks off due to the worst winter for sport many can remember, it was anyone’s guess as to who would perform best on the day.

Park’s preparation took a dent as early as 9.30am when the bus broke down before leaving the clubhouse.

Some rallying phone calls saw a convoy of cars leave Preston Avenue an hour or so later than expected.

Percy Park were without player coach Martin Shaw, who was unavailable, so Ash Smith stepped in to the fly half slot, with David Griffiths moving to full back.

Old Brods kicked off playing with the slope and the wind in the first half, and it was the home side who drew first blood with a penalty by Olly Ackroyd on 21 minutes.

The conditions did take it’s toll with both sides finding it difficult to handle the ball without errors creeping into the game, although it was the visitors who had more of the ball in the first period.

Park struck back on 27 minutes when mercurial skipper John Scott burrowed over the line after a loose Brods pass allowed Park to regain possession close to the line, and from the resulting ruck the Park scrum half snapped up the chance to score. Smith kicked the conversion.

Percy Park had two further chances to stretch their lead, the first when a kick ahead by Smith saw Park’s left wing speedster Thomas Turnbull recover the ball only to be adjudged offside, despite appearing to be two yards behind the kick.

Moments later, a well timed pass by Andy Dunn put Craig Firth through the gap in the home defence to go under the posts, only to be brought back for a dubious forward pass.

Old Brodleians pressed the Park line just before half time, but resolute defence kept the Yorkshiremen out, but lost talisman James Ponton to an injury just before the break, being replaced by young Jack Davidson.

In the second half both sides struggled to gain a stranglehold on the game, although Park had far more of the possession as they had in the first half.

There was not much of note to report until a few minutes before the end of the contest when Park were awarded a penalty five metres from the Brods line, bang in front of goal.

Surprisingly, the visitors spurned the 3 points, instead opting for a scrum. Park won the ball as expected and started the drive towards the line, but after the scrum collapsed for the fourth time, the East Midlands referee gave a penalty against Park for collapsing the scrum.

Both sides were now playing edgy nervous rugby, with a try to either side grabbing the win.

On 84 minutes, Park scored again through Scott to win the game. A scrum in the Brods half was won and Greg Dixon No. 8 picked up and went down the blind side, off loading to Scott with Turnbull outside him. The Park captain sped for the line feigning to pass outside, drawing both defenders wide, he then stepped inside to cross the line.

Park had secured another valuable win on the road, maintaining second spot in North 1 East.

This weekend Park play host to Old Crossleyans at Preston Avenue.