Park run out of steam for league

Brett Sylph goes over for a Percy Park try against Harrogate. Picture by Stu Robertson.
Brett Sylph goes over for a Percy Park try against Harrogate. Picture by Stu Robertson.

HIGH-flying Harrogate travelled to Preston Avenue looking to avenge their defeat at Claro Road earlier this season.

Following their cup success in the week, Park had to make a few changes due to injury and unavailability. Influential player coaches Michael Stephenson and James Ponton were out, and Craig Fidler was back abroad with work.

Ollie Gilmore came in for Jimmy Baldwin at scrum half and Brett Sylph started at No.8 with Ben Bell moving to the bench.

Gate started the game with high intensity and were soon on the score sheet as fly half Callum Irvine dummied and darted through a gap in the Park defence to score under the posts. The chipped conversion was hooked into the left hand post and the ball bounced out.

With the Wednesday game still in their system, the Park players lacked the usual spark and missed several tackles, resulting in Gate’s second try when hooker Arin Yorke backed up well to score again under the posts with the try converted.

Park’s misery continued as Sam Bottomley scored on 18 minutes to give the visitors a 17-0 advantage.

Percy Park were shaken into life and set up possession in the Harrogate half as a maul was driven towards the 22. Gate’s No.8 Tim Heaton was sin binned for pulling the maul down on 23 minutes, but even with the numerical advantage Percy Park could not make the extra man tell and Harrogate’s defence held firm until the 32nd minute when full back Phil Morse crossed the line showing good strength taking several defenders with him in the process. Ash Smith missed with the conversion.

Just before half time Harrogate scored their bonus point try through Heaton after good work by the visiting half back pairing and the conversion took the score at half time to 5-24.

In the second half Gate started well again, running everything, even from deep in their own 22. A break by James Bird was snuffed out and Bottomley retrieved the ball and went over for his second try.

Harrogate scored their sixth try on 57 minutes before Park hit back with a try by Sylph which was not converted.

The final score of the game went to Harrogate who scored a converted try through Sam Brady.

On Saturday, Park travel to Bradford and Bingley, hoping to fare better than they did at home earlier in the season in a game dominated by the Bradford forwards.

Winning the remaining 2 games of the season would see Park guaranteed to finish in fourth spot, no mean achievement for their first season at level 5.