Birkenhead Park vs PGRFC

Date: 16 June 2017

The final score suggests that this was a comfortable win for the league leaders but in fact they trailed at half time and the result was in doubt as late as the 60th minute.

Words by Ken Moore, photo by Mike Craig

With confidence boosted by some new recruits and a win on the road at Pocklington the previous week, the hosts started strongly and, throughout the first period, it was difficult to decide which team was top of the table and which was struggling near the bottom.

Hoppers’ defence was certainly put to the test and the first quarter saw play switch from end to end and a yellow card for centre James Fitzpatrick on 30 minutes did little to help the visitors’ cause. As the half drew to a close, Park spurned a kickable penalty to set up a 5-metre lineout which paid dividends as hooker Stuart Brown was driven over to give his side a 5-0 lead at the break.

Hoppers went on the attack from the restart dominating up front and replied in kind as Sam Gale touched
down from a lineout drive to level the scores. But from the kick-off, a mix-up in defence gifted a try to
Dave Hall and the full back’s conversion from the touchline regained the lead.

Hoppers at last got their act together with some strong forward drives and, when the ball was released,
Scott Jordan made the most of a wayward pass to put Niall Crosley in at the corner. The kick again failed
but the momentum was now with Hoppers and, after a quick tap penalty gained ground, Matt Frings
broke from a maul near halfway and rounded the cover to touch down and get the lead for the first time at 15-12.

Park attacked from the kick off but Crosley seized on a loose ball on his own 22 and outpaced the defence for the bonus point try.

Hoppers now turned the screw on a tiring defence, and two trade-mark tries from No.8 Matt Lamprey, one converted by replacement kicker Sam Stott, secured the win.

Coach Paul Arnold said: “All credit to Birkenhead, they wanted it more than us in the first half but I was confident at the break that we would get our act together, look after the ball and get the 5 points. As league leaders, we are there to be shot at and teams will raise their game accordingly.”

Here are the other results:

Birkenhead Park 12 – 32 Preston Grasshoppers
Hull 24 – 24 Harrogate
Ilkley 5 – 17 Billingham
Kendal 47 – 6 Pocklington
Kirkby Lonsdale 24 – 25 Rossendale
Sandal 17 – 24 Morley
Wirral 20 – 14 Lymm

Here’s how the league looks now:

P W D L PF PA PD Pts Bonus Point  Adjust
Preston Grasshoppers 16 15 1 0 487 226 261 75 13 0
Lymm 15 11 2 2 428 165 263 58 10 0
Hull 15 10 2 3 471 211 260 57 13 0
Billingham 15 10 1 4 439 251 188 50 8 0
Harrogate 14 9 1 4 373 289 84 48 10 0
Wirral 15 9 0 6 383 336 47 45 9 0
Rossendale 13 8 0 5 292 322 -30 39 7 0
Kendal 16 7 1 8 365 361 4 37 7 0
Ilkley 15 6 0 9 299 343 -44 32 8 0
Kirkby Lonsdale 15 5 0 10 341 330 11 31 11 0
Sandal 15 4 1 10 306 381 -75 27 9 0
Birkenhead Park 15 2 1 12 249 524 -275 16 6 0
Morley 15 2 1 12 211 460 -249 14 4 0
Pocklington 16 1 1 14 207 652 -445 10 4 0
Back to Rugby Reports Back to Fixtures