AFTER a close defeat last week, Park set off for Wakefield to play Sandal hoping to return to form.
The day started badly with an eventful coach journey and a minor altercation with an elderly driver at the Testo’s roundabout, in which his car came off second best.
After exchanging details and the resulting delay, it was decided to travel straight to Milnthorpe Green instead of stopping off at Wetherby.
Influential hooker Andy Dunn was out of the reckoning for selection following a shoulder injury the previous week, so Jonny Dubois came into the side in a front row with an average age of 20.
Sandal kicked off, and immediately Percy Park were under pressure with no one claiming the ball, and full back Tom Coad crossed the Park try line but was denied the score with a foot in touch.
The home side did score in the first minute of play however, as Park infringed and gave away a penalty which fly half and captain Greg Wood kicked.
Ash Smith cancelled out the score with a penalty of his own on four minutes, and in a penalty strewn game, Wood kicked a further two to take his side into a 9-3.
Scrum half Max Whittingham crossed the line for what looked to be a try but again he had stepped in touch, and after another encounter with the whitewash, Sandal were denied a try after desperate Park defence.
Although Smith struck back with a penalty, Wood cancelled this out.
Park’s woes continued when Brett Sylph was sin binned for a dubious high tackle, then fullback Tom Coad went over for a try in the left hand corner on the half hour after a fine inside pass from lock James Stewart. Wood made no mistake with the conversion.
Uncharacteristically, Percy Park struggled in the set scrum losing several of the early ones against the head, as the new look front row took their time to settle in.
With Park still a man down Smith snatched at a drop goal attempt which went wide, but were soon on the attack when awarded a penalty which was kicked to touch.
From the line out, quick ball was spun out left and Michael Stephenson crossed the line for what looked to be a certain try, which even the home supporters agreed afterwards was a score, but the referee, who was some distance away, ruled he had been held up.
The second half started much better and Ali Blair scored a fine try after a switch pass from Stephenson, set him back inside, beating three defenders to score close to the posts.
The conversion gave the Park faithful a glimmer of hope at 19-13, but eight minutes later with Sandal attacking, Johnny Ward came out of the line looking to intercept a pass which allowed a numerical advantage in the defensive line which the home side exploited and Rob Norbury scored, with Wood converting for a 26-13 lead.
With Park having the advantage of the sloping pitch in the second half they did play better than in the first period, but a string of penalties was counting against them as Wood kicked another on 54 minutes.
With veteran George Purdy off the bench, Park began to command the scrummage, and there were notable carries by Stu Wilson and Johnny Dubois, but Park were now chasing the game with time running out.
Ward crossed the try line for a score on the stroke of full time, with Smith drop kicking the conversion, from wide out right, but Park could not get within seven points for a losing bonus point, and came away from their trip to Wakefield disappointed.
Next week, Park meet Billingham at Preston Avenue.
PERCY PARK LIONS ... 14
BLAYDON GEORGIANS .... 14
THE Lions had another difficult game this week against second in the league Blaydon Georgians who had so far only lost one game and that was to leaders Tynedale Raiders.
The Lions put on a good show for the home supporters, with Simon Greatham kicking three penalties, and George Lewis scoring Park’s only try.
Once again Hamish Lockwood showed well, keeping his name in the frame for selection to the 1st XV, as did newcomers James Bird, Louis Frankland and Mark Livesey.
PERCY PARK PUMAS ... 36
CONSETT II ... 7
GOING into the game the Pumas were top of Northumberland River Blyth League with visitors Consett in second, both sides undefeated. In the end Park came away with the spoils winning comfortably 36-7.
PERCY PARK ACADEMY ... 26
MORPETH COLTS ... 7
PARK’S Under 18s continued their good run of form this season with a win over Morpeth 26-7.