Park run in eight tries as they dominate Northern

Percy Park's Sean Williamson goes over for a try against Northern. Picture by Stu Robertson.
Percy Park's Sean Williamson goes over for a try against Northern. Picture by Stu Robertson.

Eight tries to three and a flawless kicking display by Ashley Smith were the stats of a game in which Park led from start to finish.

Percy Park had not played Northern since the 2011/12 season and then Park won both home and away.

The visitors were on a roll however with four consecutive league wins after an indifferent start, but from the third minute of the game the home side showed their intentions with a Josh Hedley try. Park’s giant lock battered his way over the line from a ruck five metres out. Smith kicked the first of his eight conversions.

Northern hit back on nine minutes after a well-worked try, with right-wing Matt Brown going over in the corner for an unconverted score.

Both sides were keen to run the ball and when Smith picked up a loose pass inside his own half and set Ali Blair away, the Park centre showed his pace and raced to the line to score under the posts.

Northern’s full-back Doug Patterson kicked a penalty before live-wire centre James Crowther broke through a couple of tackles and scored for the visitors to bring his side within a point at 14-13.

Smith stretched Park’s lead with a well taken penalty-kick with 32 minutes gone.

Park were soon on the front foot again after Guy Pike broke several tackles to make his way to within 10 metres of the Northern try-line. He unselfishly gave a wide pass to left wing George Lewis but this was judged to be forward and Park were denied the score.

Percy Park continued their attack and were awarded a penalty 5 metres out. A quick tap by wing Lewis saw him stopped just short, but recycled ball and quick hands from Smith gave Andy Dunn the chance to score in the corner. The conversion gave Park a 24-13 lead at the break.

Both sides were evenly match in the scrums, but it was from such a set-piece that Sean Williamson picked up and charged over the line, taking two defenders with him for Park’s bonus point try.

Percy Park now had their near neighbours on the ropes, and scored their next try with a well-judged crossfield kick from Pike to Alex Tilley on the right wing. Tilley did well to retrieve the ball before it went into touch and dived over the line dabbing the ball down for the five pointer. Smith kicked the conversion.

Northern stemmed the flow of Park points for a while until George Lewis crossed the line on 64 minutes. A carbon copy of the move that resulted in Tilley’s try saw the 6ft 4ins wing retrieve a crossfield kick.

The Northern defence held him up, but from the breakdown, Lewis, in off the other wing, picked up and sniped through a gap in the defence to go over untouched.

The visitors hit back with a second try of the game by centre James Crowther.

With minutes remaining, Northern were beginning to flag and tries by Smith and a second from Lewis with the last play of the game saw Park finish 59-20 to stay in second place behind Sheffield.

Next week, the 1st XV have a break from the league and take on Blyth in the semi-final of the Northumberland Senior Cup. The game takes place at Blyth with a 2pm kick off.