Blackburn 29, Birkenhead Park 12

BIRKENHEAD Park travelled to second place Blackburn on Saturday with high hopes of completing a double and moving over the Lancastrians into the play-off position.

It was not to be, however, as the home side ran out worthy winners.

Blackburn had first use of the strong wind and soon took the lead with a try from flanker Scot Richardson and then centre Alex Taylorson exploited poor Park tackling for the second try which he also converted.

Park did enjoy plenty of possession and territory but were unable to break the home defence.

Taylorson increased the lead with a penalty and then broke through for his second try which he again improved to establish a 22-0 lead at half time.

Park were not without hope as they had the elements behind them in the second half and they used them to good effect to camp for long periods in Blackburn territory.

A combination of great Blackburn defence, wrong options and poor line out play frustrated all Park's attempts to break through.

Eventually Blackburn broke out and Richardson scored his second from the long range attack and claimed the bonus point while putting the match out of Park's reach.

Park finished strongly and winger Hem Johal scored in the corner with Dave Hall converting.

Park struggled all afternoon with the referee's interpretations and they were mystified when Lucas Titherington had a try disallowed following a great break but he did cross soon after from a five metre scrum with Hall adding the extras.

It was all too little too late for Birkenhead who are now seven points adrift of Blackburn.

Scrum half Sam Chidley was competitive for Park and Adam Wellington ran strongly in the centre but overall Park lacked the cutting edge that has been a feature of recent matches as they suffered their first defeat of the year.

This Saturday Park welcome another promotion chasing side Douglas, a home victory would see Park move over the Manxmen into third place. Kick off at the Upper Park is 2.15pm.