Percy Park succumb to West Hartlepool challenge
West Hartlepool made the relatively short trip up the A19 for their last away match of the current campaign, having won the corresponding fixture at Brinkburn 24-10 earlier in the season.
Mark Antonopoulos made his first XV debut from the bench for the home side, and Marc Cook and Austin Phillips returned to the starting line-up, as did Liam Scott.
Percy Park started well but it was the visitors who were first on the scoreboard with a seventh minute try by lock Jay Corbett from a lineout as Park were caught napping at the back. Ryan Painter kicked the extras.
Park responded on 18 minutes with a Paul Spowart penalty, and most of the remainder of the half was played between the two 22s in an arm wrestle where neither side could press home an advantage.
Park had much of the territorial advantage, but it was the West back line that looked far more potent in attack, with the Painter brothers at nine and ten creating a good link between forwards and the three-quarter line.
West constantly tested the patience of referee Graham Crozier and were spoken to on several occasions before Ryan Painter was shown a yellow card on 53 minutes for kicking the ball away when Park were awarded a penalty, denying them a quick-tap.
At times the game was a little feisty and Craig Smith and a West player were sin binned for wrestling on the floor after the visitors had been awarded a penalty with Park collapsing a maul.
With Painter still serving his suspension from play, Zak Southern kicked the penalty to take his side 10-3 ahead.
With the game petering out and with both sides restored to their full compliment of players, West took the game away from the hosts after dispossessing Park twice in the space of four minutes.
With the ball spilled on half way in the Park midfield, a kick ahead saw wing Scott Butcher get the touch down on 78 minutes, and Painter’s conversion made it 17-3 to West.
Minutes later, Hartlepool’s 17-year-old debutant stripped the ball as Park attacked and raced to the line for a fine individual try, with Gav Painter again converting for 24-3.
The game continued as Park laid siege to the visitors try line. Craig Smith eventually went over after eight minutes of added time and Spowart kicked the difficult conversion with the final play of the game.
Next week Park play their penultimate league game away to league strugglers Beverley.