Park miss out in top of the table clash

John Scott makes a break for Percy Park in their match against Sheffield.
John Scott makes a break for Percy Park in their match against Sheffield.

With both teams having won their last six consecutive league games, top played second at Abbeydale as Park travelled to play Sheffield.

Interestingly third placed Wheatley Hills were playing fourth spot Dinnington in a “Super Saturday” for North 1 East.

Conditions were cold but ideal for rugby but for the low winter sun which Sheffield had to contend with in their eyes for the first half. It soon became apparent that this was a top of the table clash as a fast paced game unfolded with both sides evenly matched.

With Rich Berne, Harry Watson, Josh Hedley and James Ponton all unable to travel, Park made a few adjustments with Jonny Kidd as front row replacement, Stu Cannon into the back row, Karl Thompson at lock and Toby Davison moved in from the wing to centre to allow the return of Liam Blackburn.

Sheffield had not conceded a single point in their two previous games, but that run came to an end as Ash Smith kicked a 23rd minute penalty.

The game was evenly balanced until just before half time when a rare defensive lapse by Park saw centre Leigh Sanders power through to score near the posts to allow an easy conversion for Jimmy Pearson.

Percy Park had the chance to cut the arrears with a penalty just inside the Sheffield half with the final play of the first period, but the kick fell short.

After the break the Tykes had a chance to stretch the lead, but a long-range penalty was hooked just left of the upright.

Park continued to press the home defence in phase after phase, but the Sheffield’s line held firm and then somewhat against the run of play they scored wide right through wing Rupert Broadley after a clearance kick was charged down.

Park were back on the offensive and were awarded a penalty outside the Sheffield 22, but this was reversed as referee Dean Walker sent Andy Dunn and Tommy Marples to the bin, after a minor spat in which they were clearly not exchanging addresses for Christmas cards.

Minutes later Sheffield scored their third try this time on the left wing as Joe McHale was credited with the touch down, although the Park defence was adamant that he had been held up over the line.

With the home side 17-3 up and with only ten minutes remaining, the home supporters seemed confident of a win.

Park continued the pressure and were rewarded with a try as John Scott sniped through a gap in the defence to score under the posts. With time running out, the Park scrum half hastily drop kicked the conversion to bring his side back into losing bonus point territory, and a converted try of sharing the points.

With only minutes remaining Sheffield ensured that Park would have to attack from deep, and with the final play they were awarded a penalty. The long-range attempt could have denied Park the bonus point, but a missed kick could have meant a counter attack, so the Yorkshiremen chose to kick the ball dead to end the game.

Next week Park are back at Preston Avenue to play Ilkley, looking to avenge the defeat earlier in the season.

Candy League Division 1

Percy Park Lions 19

Tynedale Raiders 13

This was an excellent performance by Park’s 2nd XV beating Tynedale for the first time in many seasons. Park’s tries came from Josh Lake and Ryan Brooke, with Paul Spowart kicking three penalties.