Bowden 20, Birkenhead Park 23

PARK extended their winning streak to seven games with a hard fought-victory in the Isle of Man.

The Merseysiders travelled with a patched up squad missing inspirational Fly Half Garin Roberts and stalwart second row Jack Ashcroft amongst others.

It was an indifferent start for both teams as it took time to adapt to the unsettled windy conditions.

It was Park who got the first points on the board when Pete Doolan crashed over following a line out, the tricky conversion was missed by Hall.

Hall extended Park's lead to eight points with a penalty after 20 minutes.

This was to be Hall's last involvement as he left the field with a leg injury, this resulted in a reshuffle, as due to injuries Park had travelled with no back subs. Flanker Rob Doolan had to play the rest of the game at Centre with Owain Davies slotting in at Fly-half.

The visitors playing against the wind, kept the ball in hand and probed for further scores but a sound defensive effort from Douglas kept the Merseysiders from scoring until the 38th minute when Skipper Mabbott fed Chidley who put winger Sam Tyrer in for a well-worked try in the corner, Conversion missed.

The scoring was not done as Douglas swiftly responded with an unconverted score in the corner. Leaving the score 5-13 at the break.

The home side started the second half in the ascendancy, good defence from Paul Hellier and Lol Thomas had thwarted some powerful Douglas play and then against the run of play Park extended their lead when Matt Witchell kicked a long range penalty, 5-16.

Douglas threw the kitchen sink at Park, as they tried to force their way back into the game.

Their efforts were rewarded with a penalty and another unconverted try, 13-16.

It was backs against the wall stuff for Park as they tried to see the game out but they had to make another reshuffle in the back line with flanker Sean Mooney now on the wing.

Skipper Ollie Mabbott, who had an excellent game, made a twenty-yard break from a scrum and the ball was passed down the line to makeshift winger Mooney who sprinted down the touchline to score from 25 yards out, Witchell kicked the difficult conversion.

With only a few minutes remaining the game was surely won, 13-23! Oh no, Douglas responded immediately when second row Clarke, who had been excellent all game scored an opportunist try which was converted, 30 second to play 20-23.

Park gathered the restart and went on the attack looking to score the bonus point try.

Unfortunately, Park gave away a penalty for holding on whilst being held up over the try line.

Deep in injury time Douglas tapped and went and putting the ball through the phases which led to another penalty which edged them into Park's half which resulted in another penalty.

Douglas kicked for the corner and the game was in the balance, as Douglas looked for the win, but it was not to be as Park turned over the lineout and cleared the ball in to touch for full-time.

Overall it was a very satisfying afternoon for the visitors who were relieved to get over the line with the win.

Park coach Billy Woof was delighted. He said: "I thought we were excellent today, our handling and skillset was outstanding especially considering the conditions and the fact that we were missing so many key players.

"We would have lost that match before Christmas but our mentality has been spot on since the turn of the year. We've won seven on the bounce now".

Park will look to build on this good form when they face a very difficult trip to second placed Kendal next Saturday, 3pm Ko.