by Peter Greville

Birkenhead Park . . . 23pts Middlesbrough . . . 5pts

BIRKENHEAD Park made it five wins out of six in the Powergen League North Division One with a comfortable victory over visitors Middlesbrough.

Park had the game sewn up by half-time as they built up a 17-0 advantage after some fine attacking rugby. Middlesbrough kicked off, but Chris Saverimutto immediately broke from his own 22 line and Park were on the attack from the outset.

The first try came after only two minutes, following good work by prop Steve Clarke, who linked with the backs before flanker Danny Jones raced away for a great try in the corner.

After 13 minutes, Clarke intercepted a Boro pass and more fine interplay between the three-quarter saw full-back Ian Kennedy find space wide out for another excellent try.

On the half hour, Kennedy then broke from deep and chipped ahead to set up a good attacking position from which flanker Anthony O'Keefe powered over for try number three.

Alex Davies converted to put Park comfortably in the driving seat at half-time.

Davies increased the lead with a penalty 10 minutes after the restart, but to their credit the visitors came back strongly for the remainder of the contest. Park were repeatedly forced onto the back foot but the home defence, led by the excellent tackling of centre Steven Dodd and winger Dave Hall, held firm as Birkenhead showed their defensive play matched the high standards of their first-half attacking prowess.

Middlesbrough did not break through until five minutes before the end, when centre Dave Richardson crossed for a consolation score, but it was Park who had the final word with Davies kicking a simple penalty to round off proceedings.

It was a good all-round team effort that won the day for Park, with Kennedy and Clarke repeatedly to the fore. Second rows Paul Hellier and Chris Saidi again impressed with their athleticism and mobility which is bringing a new dimension to the forward play, while the wily Anthony O'Keefe provides the experience.

Birkenhead now have a break from league action before travelling to Hull a week on Saturday. Park will have a good opportunity to move further up the North One table, as they are now level with the Humbersiders on 16 points, with Hull having played a game more.