AFTER a thoroughly efficient win up at Kirkby Lonsdale, Liverpool St Helens now sit proudly at the top of North One West. They do so, however, knowing that they face the sternest of tests this Saturday when returning up the M6 for the rearranged fixture against the Vale of Lune.
With just seven points separating the top four clubs including Vale, the race to the National League is wide open with the outcome not likely to be known until the very end of the season. Vale have had mixed fortunes since the turn of the year, with wins against Anselmians, Leigh and Manchester and losses against Rochdale and Wirral. There is no doubt though, that ex-LSH Head Coach Paul Woodward will have his men, including former LSH wingman Nick Royle, fully wound up for the occasion.
So too will Martin Jones, with the LSH Director of Rugby facing an additional challenge this week with a number of regular players unavailable. Saturday’s clash will test the strength in depth of the Moss Lane squad and Jones is confident that his lads will be up to the task. “We’ve built up momentum in the second half of the season and by concentrating on our own game we hope to keep progressing this Saturday,” he said.
BIRKENHEAD PARK put on a much improved display but agonisingly lost in the closing minutes when Burnage grabbed the winning try by winger Adam Knight. Park did at least pick up two bonus points as they made up some ground on Bradford & Bingley who lost at Rossendale. Burnage built up a 22-12 half time lead but tries by hooker Stu Brown and winger Rob Houliston kept Park in touch.
Park played their part in an entertaining contest and further tries by back rowers Rob Doolan and Dave Ibbotson together with two conversions from Danny Rich gave Park a deserved 26-22 lead going into the final quarter.
Sadly for Park they could not hold on and the late Burnage score was yet another blow for an unlucky Park side.
Park President Mark McNally said: “We can look back at at least five close games we could have won but failed in the closing minutes. At the end of the day these have been very costly and as a result we now find ourselves in a precarious position.”
On Saturday Park travel to Newcastle to take on Percy Park in a re-arranged game.
McNally added: “Percy Park beat us at home with the very last play of the match and we need to really take the game to them to stand a chance of winning it.”