Wirral 15, Birkenhead Park 18

BIRKENHEAD Park booked their place in the Cheshire Vase final with victory over Wirral after a hard fought semi-final match.

It was a bizarre ending with the sides deadlocked at 15-all and extra-time looming.

Wirral were pressing hard for the winning score but conceded a penalty metres from the Park try line.

Park were happy to take the match into extra-time and Stu Bown cleared the ball over the dead ball line.

However, the referee ruled that he had not played the ball first and awarded a five metre scrum giving Wirral a further chance to attack with one final play.

Park defended with vigour and then Hem Johal seized the chance to race away up the pitch.

He was hauled down in the Wirral 22 after a great cover tackle but Park managed to regain possession and after a number of phases Will Titherington lined up a drop goal attempt.

The kick was charged down but rebounded to a Wirral player who was adjudged to be in an off side position and when he was penalised Park were left with a simple penalty attempt with the final kick.

Dave Hall made no mistake as Park celebrated victory.

The two sides looked well-matched in the opening quarter but it was Dave Hall who broke the deadlock after twenty minutes with a penalty.

Park were dominant throughout in the scrum but it was Wirral who began to look the more dangerous and Park had to defend well to keep the home attack at bay.

Wirral worked an overlap which winger Matt Loon finished for the opening try, but there was time for Park to respond before half-time as Will Titherington breached the Wirral defence with Hall's conversion giving Park a five-point lead.

The match continued to be absorbing in the second half and Wirral levelled matters with another well worked try from winger Ben Brooks and when they took the lead with a Sam Broadbent score they looked to be getting the upper hand.

Park, however, came back strongly with flankers Rob Doolan and Alwyn Watkin-Williams to the fore.

After a prolonged attack scrum half Sam Chidley broke through from the back of a maul but Hall missed the conversion to leave the scores locked at 15 all.

Jimmy Annetts missed a long range penalty for Wirral as the match headed for extra time before the match reached its dramatic conclusion.

This Saturday Park return to league action and travel to Stockport for a match they need to win if they are to keep in contention for the promotion play off.