Leigh 21, Birkenhead Park 37

BIRKENHEAD Park were made to work hard for victory by a hard-tackling Leigh side at Round Ash Park.

Park lost both wingers Sam Bryan and Charlie Dewey early in the match through injury and the resultant reshuffle saw Mike Tsang and Martin O'Keefe take over.

O'Keefe was returning to action after a serious knee injury last season and he acquitted himself well for the remaining 70 minutes of the match.

It was a defence-dominated affair in the first half with Dave Hall kicking two penalties and Elliot Ryan three for Leigh.

Just before half-time Park eventually grabbed the opening try when hooker Stu Brown scored following a lineout catch and drive from five metres.

Park took a 13-9 lead into the second half but a determined effort saw Matt Newton touch down for Leigh soon after the break to edge the home side into the lead again.

Park knew they had a battle on their hands but they responded well and evergreen centre Gavin Scott used his strength to power through after the forwards won a strike against the head with Hall adding the conversion.

Park moved further ahead when a well-timed pass by Simon Mason put Tsang over in the corner with the excellent Hall converting again.

Leigh needed to score next and flanker Willetson duly obliged.

Ryan’s conversion put the home side a score behind at 27-21 with five minutes left to set up an exciting finale.

Park immediately went on the attack and they made the game safe when Mason again combined with Tsang.

The stand-off chipped over the defence with Tsang getting the touchdown for his second try.

Hall completed another immaculate display with the conversion and there was also time for him to add a penalty deep in injury-time.

Skipper Jack Ashcroft led his team by example as Park overcame difficult opposition to remain unbeaten along with Northwich and Kirby Lonsdale at the head of the North1 West table.

Director of Rugby Martin O'Keefe said: "This was a good win after being disrupted by early injuries and this has only added to our growing injury list.

"We had to show character and I was pleased that we came away with the bonus-point victory in the end."

This Saturday Park put their unbeaten record on the line against old rivals Vale Of Lune, kick off is 3pm at the Upper Park.