Percy Park start season with bonus point win

Percy Park RFC in action against Rochdale in their North 1 East league game.
Percy Park RFC in action against Rochdale in their North 1 East league game.

Percy Park started their North 1 East league campaign with a bonus point win, centred around a six-minute spell just before half time which saw the home side run in three tries.

Last season Rochdale had finished fifth in the league and could have been promotion candidates had they not suffered an eight point league deduction from the RFU.

Both sides had players missing due to injury or unavailability, but it was the visiting team that scored first with a penalty from the boot of James Duffy.

Percy Park dominated the set scrummages denying the Lancashire side good first phase possession.

A Rochdale line-out in the Park half saw the ball overthrown at the back and the home side capitalised with man of the match Andy Dunn picking up the loose ball and finding Ali Blair who surged through the defence. The Park centre was stopped in the visitors 22 before off-loading to Ben Bell who passed to skipper Michael Langlands to score in the right hand corner.

Percy Park always looked more likely to score in a first half that saw a number of spilled and forward passes from both teams.

Park hit a purple patch before the break with Josh Hedley powering over from a catch and drive on the Rochdale 5 metre line, then Ash Smith and Guy Pike both crossed the line on 38 and 42 minutes to set up the bonus point and Park were cruising with a 22-3 lead.

In the second half Park made a number of substitutions which seemed to break up the team rhythm and there was a half hour stalemate before it looked as though Park had scored as Michael Grove crossed in the corner, but he was judged to be held up over the line, then the visitors hit back with a try from Johnny Mair.

A break in Park concentration saw Rochdale strike again when centre Shaun Needham scored a try converted by James Duffy, and the visitors were within a converted try of levelling the scores.

Percy Park then took control and were awarded a penalty in front of the posts. Smith stepped up and kicked the three points giving Park the 25-15 win and denying the visitors a losing bonus point.

Next week Park travel to the picturesque Ilkley.