14/15 Wanderers. Wanderers 25 - 29 Percy Park Lions

Northern fielded a team with only two replacements for this cup game and with two forwards, Finn Healy and Duncan Arnold leaving their sick beds to play. Northern started brightly against a strong Park team and the opening exchanges were even. There was no score until the 20thminute when Park were awarded a free kick 15 metres out. Northern switched off and turned their backs on the ball allowing Park to take a tap and power over for a converted try. This spurred Northern into action and on 24 minutes scrum half Ali Gray spotted space and ran out of his 22. He passed to supporting no. 8 Ian Brierley who went on a barnstorming run up to the Park 10 metre line. Northern were quickest to the break down and moved the ball right to centre Harrison Clark who evaded tackles and passed out to supporting full back Joss Pinsent who touched down out wide for a superb try. He then converted with a fine kick to tie the game. Park did not have an answer to Northern’s expansive game and on 30 minutes another good driving run from flanker Matt Brooks took the ball deep into Park territory. The ball was recycled and moved wide to Harrison Clark who took out two defenders with a powerful run and offloaded to supporting wing Paul Mawhinney who showed sprinted in for the try from 30 meters. Joss Pinsent converted and Northern took a deserved lead. Northern finished the half by scoring a further unconverted try on 37 minutes when from a line out on the Park 22, Matt Brooks made another telling run and the ball was taken on by the forwards for flanker Lawrence Annis to touch down out wide. Half time score: Northern Wanderers 19 – Percy Park 7.

Northern brought on both replacements at half time (one to replace the struggling Finn Healy who was really ill) and started brightly. Northern were trying to run back at Park but a couple of late hits on Joss Pinsent resulted in a sin bin for the Park prop on 45 minutes. Instead of taking advantage of superior numbers, Northern conceded several penalties allowing Park to score when they tapped a penalty 10 metres out to power over for an unconverted try out wide. Northern went to sleep from the restart and poor tacking allowed Park to run back deep into the Northern half. Northern conceded another penalty at the break down and Park again took a quick tap and moved the ball quickly for a converted try on 50 minutes to tie the game. Northern took the game back to Park from the kick off when on 52 minutes Park indiscipline led to a penalty 30 metres out which hooker Ryan Moore kicked to restore Northern’s lead. Northern were struggling in the scrums against a bigger Park pack but their expansive game was still causing Park problems and on 60 minutes Park infringed again and Ryan Moore converted another 30 metre penalty to extend Northern’s lead to six points. Northern then had an excellent chance to add to their score on 65 minutes when Park were penalised for not straight in a line out 5 metres out from their line. Instead of asking for the line out Northern inexplicable asked for the scrum which the Park duly won and cleared their lines. The Northern pack were really struggling with prop Duncan Arnold having to come off looking really ill. Northern were trying to defend but conceded a spate of penalties with the referee unwilling to explain what they were for. Park scored a try out wide on 75 minutes from a 5 metre penalty line out catch and drive to make it a difficult last 5 minutes. From the restart Northern were penalised again and went on to concede a further 4 penalties in succession for offences that the referee did not make clear. Park were awarded a further penalty 5 metres out and elected to take the scrum. It was no surprise that the Park pack shunted Northern back and scored an unconverted push over try on 77 minutes to take the lead. The referee indicated there were three minutes left after the score so Northern made one final effort from the restart however as Park knocked on the referee blew for time. Final score: Northern Wanderers 25 – Percy Park 29.

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