St Benedict's 20, Birkenhead Park 38

BIRKENHEAD Park made the long trip to West Cumbria to face St Benedict’s in the first ever meeting between the clubs.

Park had a decent start as the two sides tested each other out and it was the visitors who struck first when number eight Laurence Thomas picked up from the back of a scrum to put scrum-half Sam Chidley through for the opening try converted by Simon Mason.

St Benedict's then gained the upper hand for the remainder of the half as they pinned Park in their own half.

The Park defence held firm until the 39th minute when Craig Halligan broke through for the try with Andrew Middleton’s conversion levelling matters 7-7 at half time.

The home side took the lead early in the second half when Middleton kicked a penalty but Park raised their game to take control of proceedings after a tough fight from Benedict's.

Park won good line out ball in the Benedict's 22 and switched play across the pitch for centre Sam Bryan to cross with Mason converting.

Mason increased the lead with a penalty but Middleton responded with a penalty for Benedict's on the hour mark.

Good work by the Park back row created the next try for winger Adam Wellington with Mason again adding the extras.

Park then lost second row Paul Hellier to the sin bin as Benedict's refused to lie down and some tidy play led to scrum half Middleton scoring and converting his own try to close the gap to just four points with ten minutes remaining.

Park went on the attack and when Benedicts tried to run the ball from their own line Park flanker Sean Mooney won the ball in the tackle and put fellow flanker Matt Walls over for the bonus point try.

Park saved the best until last when Mason cleared from the 22 and Sam Bryan followed up to gain possession just past half way before beating four defenders to score a spectacular try under the posts.

Mason converted both as he gave another immaculate display of goal kicking.

Laurence Thomas enjoyed an excellent game at number eight for Park with second row Josh Smith taking the man of the match award.