Park pay penalty

Simon Greatham about to score Percy Park RFC's second try against Old Brods.
Simon Greatham about to score Percy Park RFC's second try against Old Brods.

PERCY Park were instrumental in their own downfall against Old Brodleians with some home spectators admitting that the best side lost.

It took an 87th minute penalty by Brods skipper Dan Wood to take the points which keeps the Woodhead side top of North One East, and the only side in the league with a 100 per cent record.

Park made a few changes in the back division with John Scott being out of contention, Ash Smith moved in to scrum half from full back, Dave Griffiths moved from centre to full back.

Park started brightly with the benefit of the considerable slope and wind at their backs.

Ali Blair went over in the left hand corner on four minutes after Joe Wafer had crashed the ball up in midfield. Phil Morse missed the conversion.

Brods hit back a few minutes later after Park were penalised for not releasing the tackled player and Wood kicked the points.

Park continued the pressure and a misdirected clearance kick from the home side found Howard Stock in space to run the ball back at the defence. Blair received a pass and was stopped outside the 22, but Zak Appleby-Rutter found Simon Greatham who carved his way through to score under the posts. Morse added the extras, and the home side trailed 12-3.

Park missed a penalty soon after but on 29 minutes Stock went over in the right hand corner after a good pass by Michael Langlands put the young winger in space. With the conversion missed, Park were 17-3 up and coasting.

No further points could be added up to half time, and Park turned around to play up hill in the second half.

Any visitor to Old Brodleians knows how important having the benefit of the slope can be, but Park scored first in the second period with a penalty by Greatham.

The visitors had their chance to get a bonus point when another attack near the Brods line saw Park with an overlap, only for the ball to be kicked and the pressure released.

Old Brodleians hit back with a fine try by flanker Olly Ackroyd who scythed through some poor tackling to score under the sticks. But Wood’s conversion was charged down by Morse.

The try seemed to raise the spirits of the home side. Park chose to keep the ball tight up the hill rather than using their backs who had the edge over Brods.

Then came the game changing five minutes of madness.

Park were on the attack and on the Old Brodleians 10 metre line when Andy Dunn powered into the home defensive line, brother Tony then drove into the ruck and appeared to trip over and went off his feet.

Referee Carl Hill then, without warning, took out his yellow card and sent him to the sin bin which took everyone by surprise.

Four minutes later, out came the card again and this time Ponton was in the bin and Park were down to 13 men with 10 minutes remaining.

Brods took full advantage and from a scrum, half back Joe Armitage skipped through the Park defence and this time Wood made no mistake with his conversion to make the score 15-20.

Liam Scott then scored a try after some sloppy defence and Brods had drawn level, with the conversion giving them the lead 22-20.

Park did not give up and restored back to 15 went on the offensive, and were rewarded with a penalty two minutes into injury time. Greatham stepped up and kicked the difficult chance to give Park a slender 23-22 lead.

Now all that was required was to close the game out, and put away the “get out of jail free card”.

Both sets of supporters were on edge and when Park turned the ball over in their own half, Brods went on the attack.

A full seven minutes of injury time had been played, then came the dreaded penalty, and calmly Wood stepped up and delivered the killer blow to the visitors, although there was heated debate in the bar afterwards as to whether or not the ball had gone between the uprights.

Park need to regroup on Saturday as they take on Old Crossleyans at Preston Avenue.