Our victory, combined with defeat for Penrith, means we leapfrog the Cumbrians back into second place with Pocklington stretching their lead at the top to three points thanks to a bonus point win over struggling Wheatley Hills.
If we want to hold on or even improve on that second position in the table we will do well not to replicate the first forty minutes of thie game in any of the remaining 8 games. We looked off the pace throughout with some wayward kicking allowing Park to dictate. Our only highlight was a break up the touchline from Ryan Painter which was nicely followed up by Andrew Rollins but the hooker held on after he was tackled just short of the line.
Park fullback Michael Grove kept the scoreboard ticking over for the visitors and his four penalties spread throughout the half gave his side a 12-0 interval lead – nothing short of what they had deserved.
Whatever was said inside the huddle at half time had the desired effect and we started the second half with far more purpose. Inside two minutes we had our opening score with two half-time replacements playing a starring role. Aaron Myers and Anth Carr had both been introduced at the break and were straight into the action with strong carries as we moved the ball well into the Park 22. With a big overlap on the left Gav Painter threw the ball wide and despite not reaching its intended target Zac Southern had plenty of time to gather the loose ball and cross the line, Painter adding the conversion.
Three minutes later Painter was converting again when, following more pressure in the Park 22, the visitors threw a loose pass of their own and Peter Youll collected for a simple run in under the posts. In a handful of second half minutes we had turned around a 12 point deficit to lead 14-12 and in the process left the visitors shell-shocked.
Our resurgence was halted momentarily by a yellow card for Myers but while he was off the field we extended the lead with another gift of a try, this time Sam Miller the beneficiary. Having kicked a lot of ball throughout the game we finally had a bit of luck when a high kick was not dealt with just outside the 22 and Miller was on hand to pounce on the bouncing ball and score the third try, again converted by Painter.
With 15 minutes to play it seemed as though the story would be whether we could go on a claim the fourth try bonus point but Park were to battle back and score the pick of the afternoon’s tries. A scrum wide on the left gave the backs plenty of room to run in and they executed a perfect training ground move resulting in winger Toby Davison touching down. Grove couldn’t keep up his perfect record from the first half and missed to the left with his conversion.
We continued to search for the fourth try as time ran out, even running the ball after the referee had called for the last play, but it wasn’t to be and we had to be content with four points which, given the predicament at half time, we could be more than happy with.
West: Southern, Tyers, Edwards, Edwards, Youll, Hilditch, G Painter, R Painter, Coates, Rollins, Wood, Bunter, Rafferty, C Miller, Boatman, S Miller.
Reps: Maddison, Carr, A Myers
Tries: Southern, Youll, S Miller
Cons: G Painter 3
YC: A Myers
Percy Park: Grove, Davison, Danil, Pike, Chambers, Morse, Baldwin, Cook, Dubois, Birkett, Hedley, Saint, Lake, Wilson, Langlands.
Reps: Purdy, Caulfield, Fa’atau
Pens: Grove 4
Referee: Lewis Harrison [Durham Society]