WINNINGTON Park were left to rue not making the most of early pressure they applied to their opponents after a narrow defeat in the Cheshire RFU Vase final on Monday.

They controlled the opening stages, and deservedly broke through in the sixth minute when Lewis Pickering sold a dummy before bursting to the line.

Full-back Cameron Flanagan added the extras.

The men from Burrows Hill thought turned down the chance to add three points from a penalty kick when they took a quick tap in front of the posts.

It did not come to fruition, and they were left frustrated again when a try in the corner was ruled out by the referee following an intervention from a touch judge.

Hoylake gradually worked their way into the contest, and their pack drove a scrum over the line to put their first points on the scoreboard.

Flanagan landed a penalty following an offence at the breakdown, only for Park to concede two tries before the break to leave them 15-10 adrift.

When they shipped another, this time converted, two minutes after the interval the signs were ominous.

However head coach Roger Pickering sent on Jamie Pugh to add dynamism on the wing, while Nick Brown and Mike Eaves bolstered the ranks up front.

Stand-off James Johnson won a foot-race to reach his own grubber kick, touching down to give his side renewed hope.

However they suffered a blow from the restart when captain Danny Williams was taken out in the air, ending early his involvement.

From the penalty, and resulting lineout, Johnson invited Josh Gibbins to attack out wide only for him to be tackled before he could ground the ball.

He did dive over in the corner shortly afterwards, but Flanagan’s conversion drifted wide.

At 22-20, they sensed an opportunity.

However Hoylake slotted a penalty in the dying seconds to settle the outcome.

Pickering said: “We almost nicked it.

“That spell in the opening 15 minutes, when we were on top, was important – we didn’t capitalise as much as we should.

“We played well though, and with the rub of the green the result might have been a different one.”

Park | Ridgway, Evans, Snasdell, Josh Brown, Dykes, Treacy, Glendinning, Danny Williams, Jack Williams, Johnson, Lamb, Lewis Pickering, Allmark, Gibbins, Flanagan Replacements Eaves, Nick Brown, White, Underdown, Gately, Pugh, Sheppard Tries Lewis Pickering, Johnson, Gibbins Con Flanagan Pen Flanagan