MEMORIES of last year’s late agony will inspire Percy Park tomorrow as they host Liverpool St Helens in a winner-takes-all promotion play-off.
A place in National Three North is the prize as the North One East runners-up host their Western equivalents in a 3pm kick-off, determined to avoid a repeat of last season’s outcome when a dramatic try with the final play denied them promotion.
Percy Park president Barry Smith said: “We had gone two tries down to Burnage very early in the game, but we came back and were leading going into the final minute.
“We had a man sin-binned and they drove over for a try at the death, but that is just sport and we have bounced back.
“In fact, we had a letter from Burnage this week wishing us luck and thanking us for the manner in which we accepted defeat.
“Some of their club men are even coming up for the game.
“Whatever happens tomorrow it has been a great season for us, though, retaining the Northumberland Senior Cup and coming second in the league with such a young squad.”
Acknowledging promotion to the National Leaguescarries its cost in terms of increased travel, Smith added: “We want to do it for the players and to give them the opportunity to perform on the highest stage possible.
“That comes at a price with games much further away from home, but as a club we have taken the stance we just have to back the lads and find a way to make it happen for them.”
Blaydon complete their SSE National One season at home to Barking, with a reunion of sorts in the offing for visiting back-rower Sam Reynolds whose late father Tony played for the club.
Reynolds senior, whose photo still hangs proudly at Crow Trees, died in 1993 with motor neurone disease and his widow Zoe will be a guest of Blaydon’s for the day.
The club will also be aiming to complete a clean sweep of the Durham County Junior Cups tomorrow at Durham City RFC when they meet Darlington Mowden Park in the final of the Second Teams Cup, having already won the third and fourth-team equivalents.
Tynedale, meanwhile, finish their National Campaign away to Stourbridge, with Westoe’s National Two North season coming to an end with a visit from Hull.