Birkenhead Park 10 Wirral 36

IN THIS rearranged contest held over since December, the game was played in heavy conditions.

Park held Wirral in the first half, but had no answer to the away side in the second as they ran in four tries.

The game started dramatically when, in the second minute, with their first touch of the ball, the Wirral fly-half Craig Harvey created an opportunity for Ali Baker.

Barker carved through the Park defence to run 85 metres and score in the corner. 

The try was then converted from the touchline by James Annetts.

The game was already feisty and, on seven minutes, Wirral were down to 14 men as Keith Mahon was sin-binned for a technical offence.

This gave Park the advantage in the scrums as they scored a try with one of their characteristic mauls through Dave Ibbotson, converted by Dave Hall to equalise.

On 12 minutes, Park also found themselves down to 14 men as Stu Brown was sin-binned for a late tackle.

With both teams reduced to 14 men, Park then took the lead with a penalty from Hall to make the score 10-7.

Wirral were now exerting pressure on Park, but good defence kept the away side out along with passes being dropped at vital moments.

It was not until the last kick of the first half that Wirral equalised with a penalty from 35 metres by Annetts for 10-10 at the interval.

Following instructions from the Wirral coach at half-time, the game changed in Wirral’s favour as they controlled territory and possession.

The pressure told when Rob Pearl put in winger Adam Sheldon for a try and this was converted by Annetts.

The pressure was mounting on Park as they were pinned on their line and matters worsened when Park's Laurence Thomas received a straight red card for punching.

From this position a great backs move from Wirral saw Craig Harvey put in Annetts for the easiest of tries with the latter also converting the score.

The match was effectively over with Wirral leading 24-10.

In the closing minutes of the game, Wirral had a try disallowed, but the try bonus point came shortly after when Sam Broadbent put in Dan Harvey for a try, again converted to bring Annetts' individual haul to 16 points.

With Wirral now in full control they still had time to score a fifth try with the final play of the game through Adam Sheldon following a fine move by the backs to make it 36-10 at full-time.

This win puts Wirral nine points behind runaway leaders Sheffield Tigers and leaves Park with a battle to avoid relegation.