Penrith win but their survival’s not assured
Last updated at 12:32, Monday, 16 April 2012
Penrith 40 Birkenhead Park 23: Before Saturday’s game the informed thinking was that a victory with a four-try bonus point would see Penrith home and dry and their league status guaranteed.
The team delivered this with a magnificent performance but everyone had expected Beverley to come away from a difficult fixture at Rossendale with nothing.
They matched the Cumbrians with a win and a bonus point so all is still to play for.
It also added to the drama as the Rossendale/Beverley game was held up with a bad injury and an air ambulance on the pitch.
When Penrith finished their relegation rivals still had 15 minutes to play and were 22-21 up. Rossendale kicked a penalty after the restart to lead but Beverley landed a late penalty to win 25-24.
The Penrith side were clearly up for the fray, making a good, lively start and soon had their noses in front courtesy of a Steve Wood penalty.
Birkenhead Park are a big strong side and are always very dangerous once in possession in the opposition 22. Their first visit to Penrith’s came from a kick to touch from where they won the lineout.
The power of their forwards took the maul virtually to the home line, where the cover was sucked in and when the ball was moved they found a gap in the corner.
Penrith came back at them and although at this stage they were having difficulty breaking through the visitor’s defensive line they were causing them to concede penalties.
Wood, who had a good day with his place kicking (100 per cent), slotted two penalties to put his side in front again at 9-7.
The lead was not to last long as the visitors repeated the trick, this time from closer in. Penalty kick to the corner, catch and drive from the lineout and a try, this time not converted.
At this stage the home side were looking a little frail. Things nearly got a lot worse when a Wood chip out to the wing was read by the visitor’s threes. The kick was intercepted and the line looked open with most of the home side behind the play and a potential ten point deficit loomed.
That was until Mike Stephens seemed to appear out of nowhere and completely enveloped the player allowing the cover time to get there and clear the danger.
But Penrith conceded a penalty to trail 15-9 on the half hour and a bonus point win was looking a long way off.
It was their talisman Wood who was to make all things look possible again as he so often has done with an interception try, running the ball in from the 10 metre line. His conversion had the home side’s noses in front once more.
Penrith, this season, have been guilty on several occasions of conceding scores on the stroke of half time but this time they turned the tables and were deep in the visitor’s 22.
The forwards were battering the line following a five metre scrum and were just inches short when the defenders were penalised.
Ian McDowell took a quick tap and charged for the line but hit the defensive brick wall. The ball then came to Wood who spun it wide where James Ellar and Mike Hawley combined to release Jon Fell who dived in at the corner.
Wood’s boot was unerring as he converted off the touchline for a 23-15 advantage at the break.
Birkenhead started the brighter of the two sides after half time and although the home men defended stoutly they still conceded a penalty for the visitors to move within a score.
It was anyone’s game and the home side were on the attack next and another Wood penalty opened the gap up again.
Penrith were again having to defend but now they had the measure of the visitor’s catch and drive tactic from the attacking lineout and on a couple of occasions actually drove them backwards.
On one such occasion they did really well to steal the ball on their own line, only for it then to squirt out of the ruck invitingly for the visiting forward who crashed over in the corner.
Into the last quarter and the game was still in the balance at 26-23 as Penrith pressed and won a penalty. It was just about within Wood’s range but the decision was made to kick to the corner.
Penrith then proceeded to “out Birkenhead” Birkenhead. The lineout was won and it was the Penrith men who drove for the line where it was wheeled one way and then the other, over the line and fittingly it was captain Mike Raine who came up with the ball and the score.
Wood’s boot pulled the lead out to ten points and the game was looking safe.
Penrith now had the upper hand and thoughts were turning to the fourth try to secure the bonus point.
There had been a number of injuries and in the ninth minute of stoppage time Penrith found the score they were looking for. Turn over ball came to Wood and he chipped into space in behind the defensive line on the right.
Replacement Ed Swale on the wing chased at full tilt. He won the race by the skin of his teeth and the ball sat up invitingly for him to run on to and dive over.
It was the try that keeps the team’s destiny in their own hands. They now know if they go to relegated bottom of the table Altrincham Kersal and repeat this performance and come away with a bonus point win they are safe, whatever Beverley do at home to Burnage.
First published at 11:30, Monday, 16 April 2012
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk
- Unpaid work for Walney horse porn man
- Library opening times
- Ex-magistrates building in Penrith set to be flattened for car parking
- Cumbrian truck legend Edward Stobart tribute from brother William Stobart
- Revamp for Penrith's hidden town centre garden
- Cumbrians successful at Royal Highland Show
- Andrew King - Chief Executive, ENERGUS
- Hospital opening times
- Early Penrith improvement plan feedback positive
- Celtic Nation stand firm to beat Billingham Synthonia
- Unpaid work for Walney horse porn man
- Library opening times
- New look Penrith Booth’s store unveiled
- Women with bottle put the fizz into Carlisle’s soft drinks
- Last slate mine in Cumbria could close after zip wire plan rejected (102 comments)
- Eventers out making their mark
- Semi naked Cumbrian woman carried out sex act while driving on motorway
- Penrith music shop closes after 35 years
- Two army men killed in A66 Cumbria collision
- Penrith man is Europe's first cystic fibrosis bodybuilder