Birkenhead Park 35, Northwich 34

FOR the second successive week Birkenhead Park gained a single point victory in North One West.

They just survived a spectacular Northwich fight back to take maximum points with a bonus point win at the Upper Park.

Early home pressure went unrewarded, before Northwich broke out of defence for winger Hayden Skinks to score after a cross kick by stand off Nick Baldwin.

The visitors went further ahead when the other winger Robin Houghton finished off a lively move for a 10-point lead.

Park raised their game and dominated for the remainder of the half.

After 20 minutes scrum-half Sam Chidley broke from the back of a ruck after a number of recycling phases with Dave Hall converting.

Ten minutes later, Jack Ashcroft broke following an attacking line out and prop Peter Doolan was in support to touch down with Hall again adding the extras.

Just before half-time, Park added a third converted try when good handling from the half way line eventually saw stand off Will Titherington cross the line for a commanding 21-10 lead.

Park continued their domination in the second half and second row Josh Smith finished off some good driving play for the bonus point try.

Dave Hall continued his excellent kicking with the conversion and he also improved Ollie Mabbott's try when the Number 8 broke from a five metre scrum.

Park were now 35-10 to the good going into the final quarter and totally in command and the points apparently in the bag.

Northwich, however, had other ideas as they totally reversed Park’s domination and ran amok with tries from Number 8 Richard Dale, centre James Underhill and Baldwin closing the gap to just six points with five minutes remaining.

The momentum was all with Northwich and when they scored the final try out wide deep in injury time through Houghton they had to chance to snatch victory.

Fortunately for Park, Baldwin was unable to land the tricky conversion and the final whistle sounded much to the relief of the Park players and supporters.

Park's director of Rugby Martin O'Keefe said: "obviously, I was pleased with the points and at times we showed how good we can be. "However, to almost blow such a commanding lead was alarming and we need to learn to close down the game from such a strong position."

For Park Sam Chidley, Ollie Mabbott and Josh Smith all made telling contributions but the Man of The Match went to Dave Hall who again produced an outstanding kicking display which proved the difference in the end.

This Saturday Park move into unknown territory with a first ever league visit to newly promoted De La Salle in Manchester.

Press Officer Birkenhead Park , 07957 828729