Park play out draw in pre-season friendly

HONOURS were even in a four quarter north against south training match between percy Park and Westoe.

Conditions could not have been better as both clubs had a chance to look at some new players and to put into practice training ground moves honed in the previous weeks prior to the start of the league programme.

Westoe got off to the better start with a catch and drive try from a lineout in the first quarter.

Park looked the livelier in open play, and fly-half Ash Smith made a great break through the visitors’ defensive line only to trip 20 metres out with the line at his mercy.

Park levelled the scores with an Ali Blair try set up by player coach Michael Stephenson, with John Scott converting for a 7-5 lead.

Westoe scored again, rumbling over with the pack, before Blair scored his second after the ball was spun wide out right.

In quarter three Westoe crossed the Park line again with another catch and drive from close quarters and the try was converted to give the South Shields outfit a 19-12 lead.

Both sides made full use of their squad, with Park bringing across several Lions players who were taking on Bishop Auckland on the far pitch.

New boy Connor Tubman made an incisive break to set up Jimmy Baldwin for an unconverted try on the right.

With the game heading towards a close, Park had a chance to run out of defence and with a two-on-one situation just outside their 22 with speedster Johnny Ward out left, play was brought back for a penalty to Westoe.

The visitors maintained pressure on the Park line and eventually scored in the left hand corner after a well executed cross-field kick found the winger in space.

With minutes to go, Park trailed 17-24 but continued to pressurise the Westoe defence.

After several phases of play brought the ball inside the visitors 22, open-side Jack Davidson spotted a gap and picked up from a ruck to break through and score close to the posts. Scott kicked the conversion just before the final whistle.

n Percy Park Lions took on Bishop Auckland from Durham and Northumberland 2 in another training game of four quarters.

The team was a mixture of last season’s regulars with a few new faces, academy players and some of last year’s academy players who have now moved up to senior rugby.

Park ran out eventual winners 46-10 with tries from Johnny Ward, Damian Coia, Olly Gilmore, Johnny Gould (2), Liam Blackburn, Adam Fidler, Matty Atkinson and conversions by Connor Tubman (2) and Simon Greatham.

This weekend the Lions travel to Old Leodensians.