An inspired Blaydon side, led by a back-row that tackled themselves into the ground, soaked up everything Park threw at them before delivering a late hammer blow to send the visitors home with nothing.
After a dismal second-half showing against Loughborough Students last time out, Park were keen to get back on track at a ground where, last year, they picked up their first victory in over three decades.
Despite dominating the possession stats and, albeit to a somewhat lesser extent, territory, the men from the Rock simply could not breach a Blaydon defence that refused to yield all afternoon.
Ireland U20 international Brett Connon booted Blaydon into a 6-0 lead in baltic conditions in the north-east. Park had their opportunities, the most clear-cut of which came in the first-half when Sam Shires couldn’t keep hold of the ball when in a great position just a metre from the line.
Mark Kohler and the fizzing, busy Andrew Henderson did their best to try and unlock the red shirts but it was Micky Ward’s outfit which eventually delivered the decisive blow.
With little under ten minutes to play, a clean line-out and maul saw Gavin Jones slide smoothly over the line, much to the joy of the small, but passionate, home support.
Still Park had time to get something from the game. Tom Whelan passed short and long, kicked high and on the floor, but nothing quite came off. In the dying moments Adam Frampton saw yellow for a needless hit on his opposite man – which saw Tom Davison also receive his marching orders for an equally nasty over-the-shoulder throw – but it was all a footnote in a game Park will be keen to consign to the history books as quickly as possible.
A fantastic win for a Blaydon side on the up, after an equally narrow, tense win over Esher last time out.
Park have some soul-searching to do this week, which ends with the visit of the in-form, all-conquering Hartpury College to south-west London. Defeat for James Buckland’s men would all but rule them out of the race for top spot, and leave the university club well in the hunt for the sole spot into the Championship.
Kick-off time for that one is at 3pm.
Mo Sher (@MSSher1)
December 2, 2015