Birkenhead Park 22 Pocklington 22

BIRKENHEAD Park secured their first points of the season in the North Premier League against fellow newcomers Pocklington in the first ever fixture between the sides.

It was very much a proverbial game of two halves with Pocklington building a first half lead with Park storming back in the second half as honours finished even.

Park started in promising fashion but Pocklington’s first attack saw them work an overlap for scrum half and skipper Ben Rees to score the first try after eight minutes.

Park moved the ball well without being able to break through and on 24 minutes a handling error on the visitors 22 saw Pocklington race away unopposed for a try by centre Ben Thoy converted by Matt Proctor.

Pocklington moved further ahead when second row Archie Fothergill forced his way over with Proctor again converting.

Simon Mason opened Park's account with a penalty but there was still time for Proctor to respond before half-time.

It looked grim for Park with a 3-22 deficit to overcome in the second half.

Park looked a different side in the second half and skipper Jack Ashcroft scored after good work by the pack just two minutes after the restart with Mason converting.

It was not until the 65th minute that Park scored again when Mason forced his way over after sustained pressure and his conversion closed the gap to just five points.

There was everything to play for and when Proctor missed an easy penalty it seemed it just could be Park's day.

Park threw everything at the Pocklington defence which eventually cracked when hooker Stu Brown went over for the equalising try. Mason's conversion was adrift but the luck was with Park when Proctor missed another easy kick which would have won the match.

Park's director of rugby, Martin O’Keefe said: "this was a match we needed to win but after being so far adrift at half time we did well to get the draw and our first two points of the season." 

Park number eight Ollie Mabbott was named man of the match after a lively display with good support from flankers Sean Mooney and Luke Swan.

Next Saturday Park face a difficult assignment at old rivals Preston Grasshoppers who are unbeaten so far this season.