Percy Park lose it late to Huddersfield

Michael Birkett try against Huddersfield. Picture by Paul Jackson.
Michael Birkett try against Huddersfield. Picture by Paul Jackson.

Percy Park hosted second placed Huddersfield and were looking to return to form after last week’s loss at Burnage.

A couple of changes to the side saw George Lewis move back to scrum-half and centre Alex Tilley move in one place to fly-half. Jimmy Ponton returned to the back row and Alan Blakey came in to the front row.

The home side started well enough with George Lewis coming close to scoring after a trade mark break through the midfield, only to be judged held up on the try line.

Two penalties from the boot of Toby Davison gave Park a 6-0 after 22 minutes.

Huddersfield’s skipper Nick Sharpe was sin-binned for back chat to the referee on 23 minutes but Park could not take advantage of the numerical superiority as the Yorkshiremen’s gritty defence held firm and they were the ones to score next through a penalty.

Restored to 15 again Huddersfield equalised with another Tom Hodson penalty just before half-time.

In the second half it was all Percy Park but despite wave after wave of attack, they could not breach the visitors defence.

Eventually after Park were awarded a penalty on the Huddersfield five-metre line, a quick tap was passed to Michael Birkett who drove over the line for the unconverted touch-down.

Leading 11-6 and with 15 minutes of normal time left, lock Austin Phillips was yellow carded for a deliberate knock on in the red zone and Park were down to 14 men.

Inexplicably a minute later Josh Hedley committed a similar infringement in front of the posts reaching across a ruck and batting the ball out the Huddersfield scrum-half’s hands, and he too was shown a yellow card and now Park were down to 13.

The Yorkshiremen made the numbers tell and scored through hooker Ben Morrel and the scores were level.

From the kick off, the ball did not go ten metres and Park were again on the back foot. Huddersfield upped the pressure again and Hodson went over on 79 minutes to take the lead and his conversion gave his side a 18-11 lead.

Percy Park tried and tried for the next five minutes and when Nick Sharpe was given a second yellow card, Park tried to scrummage their opposition over the line, but it was not to be.

A disappointed coach Ed Midcalf after the game summed it all up as “snatching defeat from the jaws of victory”.

Next week the 1st XV travel to Morley to take on the bottom of the league side.