Birkenhead Park 26, Burnage 25

BIRKENHEAD Park took the spoils against Burnage in a thrilling finale at the Upper Park.

Burnage had led the match from the 17th minute and didn't relinquish the lead until Dave Hall's match winning conversion with the last kick of the match.

Burnage looked the stronger side for much of the contest but credit must be given to Park for a "never say die" attitude which eventually secured the bonus point victory and kept them on track for a promotion play off.

Following the opening penalty by stand off Rhys Evans Burnage went 10-0 up after 32 minutes when winger Andy Dowdall crossed and Evans converted.

Park hit back when hooker Stu Brown broke clear from the back of a line out and Dave Hall added the extras before Evans kicked a second penalty to put the visitors 13-7 up at half time.

The second-half was hotly-contested with the sides vying for forward supremacy but the visitors went further ahead when Keir Merrick finished off a lively passing move for the second Burnage try.

Stu Brown put Park back in the hunt with his second try following good work by the forwards but Hall’s conversion rebounded off the post.

With ten minutes remaining Burnage looked to have secured the victory when number eight Ralph Lawson scored from a scrum and Evan's conversion put Burnage 25-12 to the good as the clock counted down.

Park dug deep and produced a rousing finish to secure an unlikely victory.

Stu Brown secured his hat trick when he finished off a powerful driving maul and Hall's conversion left Park needing another seven pointer to take the match.

With play deep in the Park half the referee called last play and the home side gradually worked their way up the pitch with phase after phase until they got within striking distance of the Burnage line.

Forwards and backs combined in an unstoppable driving maul from 20 metres which Burnage could not keep out and prop Jay Millward claimed the touch down and the bonus point try.

The crowd held their breath as Dave Hall held his nerve to make no mistake with the crucial conversion.

Park director of rugby Martin O'Keefe said: "This was a crucial victory and we still have the play off place in our own hands but with three of our last five games away its going to be a tough challenge starting this week at fourth placed Northwich."