WITH a large crowd after the club had its official opening of the viewing balcony before the kick off, legends Dewi Morris former Park player, England International and British Lion along with England World Cup Winner Steve Thompson, MBE completing the official opening the team had a lot to live up to.

And Winnington Park responded with a 46-19 win over Bolton.

A number of players were absent including club captain Dave Cross due to club stalwart Harry Stubbs getting married giving coach Matt Farr the opportunity to play some of Parks home grown players flourishing from last year’s colts team including, Joe Cook, Jake Cornwell, Sam Houghton and Archie Sanchez.

The first league game of the season with a shakeup of the leagues and new teams in the league this was going to be a tough game against Bolton who beat Park home and away last season.

Park were put under pressure from the kick off with a strong heavy pack and this paid off with the first try of the game going to Bolton. Bolton had a scrum and kicked the ball down the touchline with the kicker sprinting 20 metres to gather the ball and score in the corner. The conversion was missed.

A short time after Park were awarded a penalty for obstruction and Cameron Flanagan kicked the penalty points. After 25 minutes coach Farr brought on prop Nick Brown to replace 18 year old Joe Cook who had a great start to his senior rugby career.

Park although a lot lighter pack stood their ground and looked fitter than the opposition. Park were awarded a penalty for a deliberate knock on and the offending player was given the yellow card.

Dan Williams took a quick tap penalty ran through a couple of players to score Parks first try of the league season. The kick was converted by Cameron Flanagan.

Luke Canning’s came off for treatment and was replaced by Ryan Williams. Park started to take control of the game and had a scrum 15 metres out and drove the maul and touched down with Captain Dan Williams claiming the try. The kicked was converted by Cameron Flanagan.

A short time after Park were awarded a penalty which was taken quick and Bolton were further penalised for not being 10 metres back. This gave the opportunity for a penalty kick which was converted by Cameron Flanagan who had his kicking boots on target.

Park were to thrill the crowd just before the half time whistle with some great football skills.

The ball was kicked down the line with Ryan Williams chasing he got to the ball before the Bolton player to give it a further kick for the impressive Matt Treacy sprinting in support to dive and touch down for a try in the corner.

The conversion was missed seeing Park finishing the first half 25 to 5 at the delight of the big crowd.

Luke Canning’s came back on for the second half and it was Bolton who put the points on the board with Park being penalised for jumping early in the line out 20 metres out they set up a rolling maul and drove over the line. The conversion was kicked.

Captain Dan Williams on the kick off was judged to have tackled a player in the air has they both went to catch the ball and was given the yellow card. This did not deter the home side and some great individual play by back row forward Alex Glendining running at the Bolton players side stepping two of them to be tackled he was supported and was back on his feet recycled the ball to drive forward and score. The kick was converted by Flanagan.

The try of the game came from scrum half Matt Cross who jinked his was through three players 15 metres from the line to score but was unfortunately injured in the process with a Bolton diving on top of him. The kick was converted by Flanagan.

Matt Cross was replaced by Archie Sanchez. Park were penalised for deliberate knock on and Gary Dykes who had put some fantastic tackles in was shown the yellow card. With a player down Bolton capitalised and scored there last try of the game after sustained pressure on the Park’s try line. The kick was converted.

Park came back with try number six with some great team play with the pack driving forward to the Bolton line seeing the ball recycled and passed through a number of hands to Sam Brookes to bulldoze his way through the Bolton defence to touch down, the kick was converted by Cameron Flanagan.

Mike Eaves was replaced for Joe Cook to come back on for the last 10 minutes and unfortunately Captain Dan Williams was penalised for obstruction and was given a yellow card in the dying minutes of the game. The game ended 46 to 19 for the home side and a dream start to the league campaign.

Coach Farr said, “This was a great team effort by all players I was particularly impresses by the younger players in particular Jake Cornwell playing hooker against a mature front row. I am sure he was inspired by Steve Thompson watching from the new club balcony and Dewi Morris. To have these two guys watching this level of rugby at grass roots is fantastic for the sport.”

Team: Mike Eaves, Jake Cornwell, Joe Cook, Matt Treacy, Benn Cann, Gary Dykes, Alex Glendinning, Dan Williams (Capt) Matt Cross, Jack Williams, Sam Brookes, Sam Houghton, Luke Canning’s, Jimmy Moran, Cameron Flanagan.

Replacements: Nick Brown, Archie Sanchez and Ryan Williams.