Waterloo 23, Birkenhead Park 24

BIRKENHEAD Park snatched the Merseyside derby match from Waterloo's grasp with an injury time penalty from Dave Hall at Blundellsands.

It was a gripping encounter with little to choose between the two sides.

After early Park pressure, it was Waterloo who opened the scoring with winger Josh Rawlinson crossing out wide after 19 minutes.

Dave Hall kicked a penalty for the visitors and then Ollie Mabbott broke clear from 35 metres after a line-out and when he was hauled down inches short of the line prop Pete Doolan was on hand to drive over for Park's first try converted by Hall.

This was the final score of the half as Park turned round with a 10-5 advantage.

The second-half continued to be a hard fought affair with neither side being able to dominate.

Waterloo flanker Alwyn Watkin-Williams was prominent in the loose and the home side took the lead with two Nick Dwyer penalties but a Dave Hall penalty put Park a point ahead going into the final quarter.

A well-worked move created the overlap for winger Jacob Allen who went in unopposed for a second home try to recapture the lead.

Dave Hall levelled matters a few minutes later with another penalty but Waterloo went seven points clear when Rawlinson broke through to score under the posts with Dwyer adding the extras.

Park came storming back and after some good driving play Peter Doolan claimed his second try in the corner but Hall was unable to convert from the difficult position and Park found themselves two points behind going into injury-time.

Waterloo were counting down the clock but a penalty enabled Park to set up a line out just outside the Waterloo 22-metre line.

Continued pressure saw Waterloo infringe and the ever reliable Hall made no mistake to take the spoils at the death.

Park's director of rugby Martin O'Keefe, who played in the front row, was delighted with the victory at his former club.

He said: "It was great to get the win, but we left it late.

"It was a close fought derby but we needed the win to kick start our league season. We need to improve in many areas and we will be working on this."

This Saturday Park welcome Northwich to the Upper Park (3pm) in what will be another hard match.