Park fail to get to grips with conditions and Morley

Percy Park waiting for the ball to come back after a tackle. Picture by Colin Edwards
Percy Park waiting for the ball to come back after a tackle. Picture by Colin Edwards

The Yorkshiremen of Morley came out on top in a scrappy game against Percy Park made more difficult after drizzling rain began a few minutes after kick-off.

Park could not seem to get a grip of the conditions or the ball and were guilty of a high knock-on count in the first half.

Alex Richards kicked Park’s first points with a penalty on 28 minutes, although he missed two earlier attempts, but Mark Chester for Morley had already put his side in front with penalties on three and 25 minutes.

The first came after a momentary lapse in the scrum saw Park going backwards and the ball was kicked back into the scrum for the easy penalty chance in front of goal.

The visitors had a couple of early chances to cross the Park line, and when centre Frantzis burst through several tackles he looked to be in for the score before a try-saving tackle from Kieran Sutherland bundled him into touch five metres out.

Morley scored their first try of the game after good interplay from back row pairing Sam Brown and Luke Watts saw the slippery ball off-loaded to Laurence Frantzis, who juggled but regained control to go over the line to extend the lead to 11-3. Morley’s skipper Mark Chester kicked the conversion.

Chester had an opportunity on half-time to put his team further ahead with a penalty, but his kick went wide as the whistle went and both sides sought the sanctuary and dry of the changing rooms.

From the restart Park went on the attack but a lapse at the breakdown saw the ball kicked out sideways from a ruck as Park were only metres from the Morley line. The ball was picked up by outside centre Richard Knowles who ran the length of the pitch to score in the left hand corner. The conversion from Chester was pulled left but the visitors were now 18-3 up.

The sun came out and spirits were lifted as Park gained more control and possession, but the Morley defensive line held strong.

The home side did cross the line as Harry Watson looked to have touched down, but as referee Jon Ash was unsighted and without the aid of a TMO, the try could not be awarded.

Park eventually scored a try through Sean Williamson after several drives for the line by the forwards were stopped short. Alex Richards kicked the extras and after 65 minutes Park were 18-10 down but confident that they had enough in the tank to overcome the deficit.

With the Morley scrum under pressure, openside Luke Watts was spoken to on a number of occasions but managed to stay on the field of play despite the rising penalty count.

It was a penalty to Morley, however, that took their lead further away from Park as Chester converted for 21-10 with around ten minutes of the game left.

Sadly Park could not breach the Morley defence as the forwards continued to batter away, and the game ended without Park being able to secure a second try which would at least have rewarded them with a losing bonus point.

Next week Park travel up the A1 for the second time this season to meet Alnwick, this time in the league, with Park having won the earlier encounter in the Northumberland Cup.

John Scott, Ethan Wilson and Michael Birkett will be back in the frame for selection after their return from holiday. Andy Dunn George Purdy and Ricki Hasnip should also be in contention for a return to the squad.