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1st XV - Match centre

Birkenhead Park
Wirral
Tries
S Gratton, D Harvey
Conversions
J Annetts
Penalties
J Annetts (2)
Sat 10 Mar 15:00 - Northern Division - Northern Premier Full time

Wirral Lose in Derby Mudbath

Following the recent heavy rain the Park pitch had been under water on Saturday morning but it had drained away before the 3.00pm kick off but looked heavy at the outset given there was little grass on the pitch.

Wirral had a change from the team selected with Chris Hughes coming off the bench to start in place of STEVE PENDERGAST allowing Ryan Higginson to come onto the bench. Sam Broadbent and Keith Mahon came back into the team. With CRAIG HARVEY not available for this game, Mark Williams continued at fly half with Ben Brooks coming in on the wing. The captain for the day was Paul Lewis (second row) with the subs alongside Ryan being HAYDN LONG and Chris Tyson.
Wirral played away from the clubhouse in the first half but the wind was not a factor in this game. In the second minute of the game a double tackle on Chris Hughes left the prop with an injury to his neck and shoulder, which meant he took no further part in the game and Ryan Higginson came on in his place- this restricted Wirral in making front row substitutions. In the 4th minute, James Annetts kicked Wirral into the lead with a penalty from in front of the posts but Park equalised 4 minutes later with a 38m penalty from Dave Hall.
Play was concentrated in the midfield area as both teams kicked downfield for territory rather than try to progress through the thick cloying mud. On 23 minutes a second James Annetts penalty restored Wirral’s lead. On 32 mins, HAYDN LONG came on for Paul Lewis at the same time as the Park second row, Josh Smith was sin binned. In the 51st minute of the first half, Park equalised with a Dave Hall penalty, the last play of the first half, 6-6.
At the start of the second half, Chris Tyson came on for Keith Mahon with Matt Dowler moving to No.8. As early as the 43rd minute, Park took the lead when awarded a penalty for a high tackle, Hall obliged. I felt that Wirral were losing too many balls in the tackle, notwithstanding the conditions which were worsening as the rain came down and even the floodlights were put on. Good interplay between the forwards took Park down into the Wirral half where they were awarded a penalty- Wirral were giving far too many away and Park increased their lead to 12-6.
Paul Lewis came on for HAYDN LONG on 50 minutes and 4 minutes later, Park had another player in the sin bin, their No 7- Sean Mooney. With 14 men this did not hamper Park as interplay amongst their forwards advanced play into the Wirral 20m area before Stuart Brown passed to right winger, Adam Wellington who just managed to score in the corner despite a couple of Wirral players looking to bundle him into touch, the conversion was missed. 17-6 (60 minutes). Three minutes later, Wirral replied with a converted try, winning a line out some 10m out, the familiar catch and drive paid off as Stuart Gratton at the back of the forwards was on hand to touch down, followed by a superb touchline conversion from James Annetts. 17-13. Keith Mahon came on for Matt Dowler.
As players tired, yardage was now being made by both teams but Wirral were being pegged back by giving away too many penalties and even Hall missed a penalty from 24m just right of the posts. From the 20m drop out, Park kept pressure on Wirral and Park then made a decisive break (the first of the game) and an inside pass to Oliver Mabbutt gave him a clear run to the posts and converted by Hall to give Park an unassailable lead at 24-13 with 1 minute left in the game. From the kick off, Wirral regained the ball when Park failed to clear the ball and played the ball amongst the forwards as we know they can and set up a position for DAN HARVEY to run onto the ball and split the Park defence to score under the posts. A quickly taken conversion was missed as Wirral were under the impression that history may repeat itself again as in the game at Clatterbridge with a kick off out to them and the chance of scoring again to win the game but alas the referee called for time after a half which lasted 48 minutes.
Wirral were able to claim a losing bonus point and still remain in 7th but teams below them are catching them up. With players coming back after injury etc Wirral will be looking to arrest this recent run of losses and will be keen to do so at Ilkley next week.

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Key moments

4:00
Penalty James Annetts kicks a penalty for Wirral
23:00
Penalty James Annetts kicks a penalty for Wirral
63:00
Try Stuart Gratton scores for Wirral
63:00
Conversion James Annetts kicks a conversion for Wirral
79:00
Try Danny Harvey scores for Wirral

Highlights

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79:00 Try 0 - 18
Danny Harvey scores for Wirral
75:00 Sub Off
Chris Tyson is substituted off for Wirral
75:00 Sub On
Matt Dowler is substituted on for Wirral
75:00 Sub Off
James Reeve is substituted off for Wirral
75:00 Sub On
Hayden Long is substituted on for Wirral
70:00 Sub On
Keith Mahon is substituted on for Wirral
70:00 Sub Off
Matt Dowler is substituted off for Wirral
63:00 Conversion 0 - 8
James Annetts kicks a conversion for Wirral
63:00 Try 0 - 13
Stuart Gratton scores for Wirral
60:00 Sub On
Paul Lewis is substituted on for Wirral
60:00 Sub On
Paul Lewis is substituted on for Wirral
41:00 Sub On
Chris Tyson is substituted on for Wirral
41:00 Sub Off
Keith Mahon is substituted off for Wirral
End of period 1
32:00 Sub On
Hayden Long is substituted on for Wirral
32:00 Sub Off
Paul Lewis is substituted off for Wirral
23:00 Penalty 0 - 6
James Annetts kicks a penalty for Wirral
4:00 Penalty 0 - 3
James Annetts kicks a penalty for Wirral
2:00 Sub Off
Chris Hughes is substituted off for Wirral
2:00 Sub On
Ryan Higginson is substituted on for Wirral
Start of the game
Replay game

As it happened

  • Birkenhead Park
  • Wirral
  • 0
  • Chris Hughes Sub Off 2:00'
  • Ryan Higginson Sub On 2:00'
  • James Annetts Penalty 4:00'
  • James Annetts Penalty 23:00'
  • Hayden Long Sub On 32:00'
  • Paul Lewis Sub Off 32:00'
  • Keith Mahon Sub Off 41:00'
  • Chris Tyson Sub On 41:00'
  • Paul Lewis Sub On 60:00'
  • Paul Lewis Sub On 60:00'
  • Stuart Gratton Try 63:00'
  • James Annetts Conversion 63:00'
  • Keith Mahon Sub On 70:00'
  • Matt Dowler Sub Off 70:00'
  • Chris Tyson Sub Off 75:00'
  • Matt Dowler Sub On 75:00'
  • James Reeve Sub Off 75:00'
  • Hayden Long Sub On 75:00'
  • Danny Harvey Try 79:00'

Team selection

Team selection has not been published for this fixture yet.

League round up

Other Northern Premier results

Ilkley
7
7
Hull
7
42
Lymm
Preston Grasshoppers
24
17

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League table

# Team Pl Pts
7. Ilkley 25 62
8. Kirkby Lonsdale 26 57
9. Wirral 26 54
10. Kendal 26 53
11. Sandal 26 46
12. Birkenhead Park 26 33
13. Morley 26 31

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