Lions roar on as the retain County Cup

Percy Park Lions celebrate with the County Cup.
Percy Park Lions celebrate with the County Cup.

Percy Park Lions lifted the No2 County Cup at North Shields with a 32-17 win over Alnwick II.

The Lions, who trailed 12-5 at half time, had made it to the final for the sixth year in a row, being Alnwick 70-15 a week earlier in the first leg of the Candy Plate.

Park kicked off into a gale that was blowing down the pitch and the ball ballooned back over their heads. Alnwick were alert to the confusion and retrieved the bouncing ball to score with only seconds on the clock to lead 7-0.

With such a strong wind against them Park kept the ball in hand and Michael Groves opened Park’s account showing his pace to finish off a move which saw a long miss pass from Phil Morse finding the full back in space.

On 24 minutes the Alnwick scrum half scored a fine individual try, running half the length of the pitch and eventually scored in the left hand corner.

Park turned around with the wind advantage in the second half, but it was Alnwick who stretched their lead as their burly left wing brushed past a number of would-be Park tacklers to score in the left hand corner for a 17-5 lead.

Director of rugby Thomas Turnbull made a couple of changes to the Park line up which saw back rower Ethan Wilson come into the three-quarters, and it was he who broke through the Alnwick defence to score a try converted by fly half Todd Harrison.

Percy Park then levelled the scores when Jonny Kidd got the touch down from a catch and drive and Harrison put Park in front for the first time with the conversion.

In last season’s final, Ethan Wilson scored the final try of the game, and he repeated the feat scoring his second try of the game minutes later with an unconverted try.

Park then found themselves down to 14 men as Brett Sylph was shown a red card for alleged foul play on the instruction of the touch judge and were soon down to 13 as Josh Lake was sin binned for not retiring the 10 metres following a quickly taken penalty.

Alnwick threw everything at Park whose defence remained firm and the blue and gold’s were unable to add to their tally.

Percy Park kept the scoreboard ticking over with a penalty then a well taken drop goal by Todd Harrison, and ended the day retaining the trophy with the final score 32-17.