Win brings to an end run of defeats

Benfield Motor Group MD Nigel McMinn with the Percy Park 1st XV, helping support community rugby. The 1st XV are wearing their new shirts bearing the name of Benfield, presented before the game against Morpeth.
Benfield Motor Group MD Nigel McMinn with the Percy Park 1st XV, helping support community rugby. The 1st XV are wearing their new shirts bearing the name of Benfield, presented before the game against Morpeth.
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PERCY Park avenged a defeat to Morpeth earlier in the season at Mitford Road and in the process stopped the run of successive defeats to Wheatley Hills and Durham City.

Park, sporting new shirts sponsored by Benfield Motor Group, were without Greg Dixon and Simon Greatham – Sean Williamson came into an otherwise unchanged pack, and there was a reshuffle in the back line.

Following good showings in the Lions, Thomas Turnbull came in at fly-half with Marcus Rutter moving to full-back. Ali Blair moved inside one place to inside centre to allow Jonny Ward his first start on the wing for the first XV.

From the start Park took the game to the visitors and camped in their half, although Morpeth defended stoutly they did give away several penalties and after kicks by Rutter on 9, 13 and 16 minutes Park led 9-0.

It took the red and whites almost 20 minutes to gain any meaningful possession into Park territory but they could not break down the impenetrable home defence.

The Park pack demolished the Morpeth scrum giving them no attacking options, and the visitors opted against scrummages time and time again, twice opting for drop-outs and tap penalties.

Morpeth had a good attacking chance close to the end of the half with Robert Mutch box kicking but finding Jonny Ward on the right wing who sped off upfield with a desperate tackle on the ten-metre line catching him by the boot laces, stopping him from running the length of the pitch to score.

Park went into the break 9-0 up and early in the second half went further ahead through another Rutter penalty.

The home side had most of the territorial battle and on 48 minutes Morpeth were reduced to 14 men when James Armstrong was sent to the bin for slowing down Park possession.

Despite several good attacks Park could not break through the Morpeth last line of defence, with Ali Blair going close.

With Morpeth penalised Rutter went for another shot at goal from wide on the right, and with wind against him, his attempt fell short, but with the visitors napping Blair chased up the kick and dived over the line only to knock on and the try was disallowed.

With Morpeth still a man down, Park had a lineout on halfway. The ball was won off the top and spun out but wide of the intended target Thomas Turnbull.

Ash Smith picked up the loose ball and cut back against the heavy traffic and through the Morpeth defence.

He then linked up with Howard Stock on the left wing and offloaded to Craig Fidler who galloped away up the flank with Hamish Lockwood in support. The long legs of the Park lock strode past the defence and in at the corner for the try.

Morpeth had brought on Cas Gross in the centre, confusingly wearing the No. 4 shirt, and he finished off a good move to power over the line on the left to score his team’s only points of the day.

Park hit back within three minutes when a break up the blind-side started by Turnbull saw Andy Dunn in the line.

The Park hooker drew his man and offload to Ward in space and the rangy wing eased past the cover defence to score his debut try for the first XV.

Rutter was just wide with the conversion so the score remained 22-5 until the final whistle.

On Saturday Park travel to McCracken Park to take on Northern.

PERCY PARK MARAUDERS A GATESHEAD 4ths A

THE game between Percy Park Marauders and Gateshead 4ths was abandoned after 50 minutes due to a serious injury to Stephen Irving.

The Marauders have a week off next week, but the Lions are back in action at Preston Avenue where they take on Morpeth Reivers.

The Morpeth 2nd XV defeated Park by a single point in the encounter earlier in the season, so the Lions will be looking to turn the tables and maintain their second position in Candy League 1 behind Tynedale Raiders.

Meawnhile Percy Park Pumas take on Blyth 2nds at Preston Avenue.