A SECOND successive defeat away from home on Saturday leaves Winnington Park already playing catch-up in a race for promotion.

After toppling then leaders Heaton Moor seven days earlier, they had reason to be confident against opponents that were relegated along with them last season.

Instead their display was lacklustre.

“Some of our players need to ask themselves if they fought as hard as they can to avoid losing,” said coach Roger Pickering.

“This is a game in which we should have laid down a marker against a direct rival. Instead we let them dictate.”

Park did not make the most of their territorial domination during the early exchanges, and instead fell behind when Jake Woods touched down for Hoylake.

Joe Lavin added the extras.

Cameron Flanagan kicked a penalty to make it 7-3, only for Lavin to punish sloppy defending to claim a try of his own – which he converted – before Matt O’Hanlon crossed the whitewash too ahead of the interval.

Lavin added a three-pointer at the start of the second half to stretch the hosts’ lead to 22-3.

Winnington did not concede again, but they struggled to create openings at the other end of the field.

Vice-captain Danny Williams attempted to lead by example, defending ferociously and working hard in attack, but without the reward of any points.

They did reduce the deficit with 10 minutes left when full-back Jack Phillips gave chase to Flanagan’s deep kick.

He collected the ball, and passed to Craig Lamb who raced over in the corner.

It was not a catalyst though, and Hoylake were comfortably protected their lead for the remainder.

Park | Nick Brown, Evans, Snasdell, Josh Brown, Dave Cross, Treacy, Danny Williams, Moriarty, Matt Cross, Flanagan, Lamb, Allmark, Sheppard, Gibbins, Phillips Replacements Eaves, Jack Williams, Owen Try Lamb Pens Flanagan (2)