Billingham 64 Birkenhead Park 3

FOLLOWING last week's victory over Morley, Birkenhead Park faced a reality check as they were outplayed by Billingham.

The long journey to the North East proved fruitless for Park as they were unable to hold the lively home three quarters.

Park started well enough and even took the lead through a Dave Hall penalty but despite good possession could not cross the home line.

Park gave a debut to stand off Callum Bennett who has joined from Chester and he showed up well before being forced off with a knee injury in the second half.

It was not until the end of the first quarter that Billingham scored when, after defending their own line, they broke out and went the length of the pitch for a try by flanker Joe Evans.

Ten minutes later winger Martin Hopley added a second and then centre Luke Wilson crossed.

Hopley’s second try put Billingham 24-3 ahead at the break which was somewhat harsh on the visitors who had competed well for most of the half.

Park continued to win decent ball in the second half but it was all Billingham on the score board as they romped away with further tries from Elliot Husband (2), Tom Biggs (2), Martin Kirby and Adam Gardner with Dan Finney slotting seven conversions in an emphatic victory.

The Park cause was not helped by injuries to James Millward and Adam Wellington in addition to Bennett but scrum half Sam Chidley and skipper Jack Ashcroft battled well throughout.

This Saturday Park welcome Sandal to the Upper Park (2.15pm kick off) and will be looking to improve against fellow strugglers who are just two points ahead of Birkenhead in the table.

The Park club has been saddened by the death on Friday of Senior Vice President, Bob Lloyd, a stalwart whose playing career spanned over 50 years.

He was involved in running the 4th and 3rd XVs for many years and was well known in local rugby circles as well as representing the club on the Cheshire Committee.