Season ends with loss at Birkenhead
BIRKENHEAD PK 3RDS 41 STOCKPORT 3RDS .... 35
STOCKPORT’S reward for beating Old Bedians the previous week was a tough away trip to Birkenhead Park 3’s in the last 16 of the cup.
With skipper Jim Finnegan away on birthday duties, the captaincy again fell to Daniel Cockersmith to take charge of the travelling party of 26.
With lock Mel McCaughey on yet another match missing soiree, fellow lock Graham Rushton came into the engine room to accompany Colin Nevett whilst there was a welcome return for Jason Holmwood and Tom Mounkley.
Prior to kick off, veteran hooker Ged Gurney made it clear that this was going to be a physical battle that we needed to be up for and that was how it turned out to be.
With Stockport fielding the kick off, an early knock on led to the first scrum from which immediate pressure was applied by the home side and lots of missed tackles led to them being camped on the Stockport try line which led to the first try of the game which was fortunately unconverted.
Stockport then showed some character and began to move through the phases which led to pressure on the home side which saw the ball moved out to wing Oye Oyewumi who showed a sumptuous piece of skill with a round the back flick pass to skipper DC who crashed over to level up the scores.
Not to be outdone, the home side roared back which was again assisted by the optional tackling rule and they were soon over for their second unconverted score however in this now see-saw battle Stockport also came straight back with the first of three tries for No.8 Lawrence Hiney leaving the scores at 10-10.
By this point the returning Mounkley was off the field with a leg injury having been replaced by Henry Carolan and it was Stockport who finished the half the stronger with Hiney dancing over for his second which was converted by full back Rick Morgan to leave the half time score 10-17 in favour of Stockport.
The half time message was simple. Use the elements and the pitch to pin the home side into their half and we must score first however it was Park first out of the blocks with an unconverted score making it a two point game.
A bit of reshuffling with backs positions had an immediate effect as Aaron Hussain, having moved from 13 to 15 managed to waltz over which Morgan converted to take the score to 15-24 which soon became 15-27 as he then tagged on a penalty goal.
Again Park came back with another unconverted try which took the score to a tantalising 24-27 before the Stockport ship was again steadied as Hiney completed his hat-trick to take the score to 24-32.
Morgan then slotted his second penalty of the afternoon and with the clock ticking away it appeared that Stockport had secured a 24-35 victory. However Park refused to lie down and again, the Achilles heel of missed tackles led to a converted try and brought the score to a nerve wracking 34-35 with minutes left to play.
From the resulting restart, Port retrieved the ball and in a bid to eat up clock began a series of forward drives hoping to leave Morgan with simple kick to finish off the game however the ref spotted a knock on in the build up and from the resultant scrum, Park managed to scythe through the Stockport leaky defence to finish the game with a converted try and take the spoils 41-35 thus bringing an end to the Stockport season.