BIRKENHEAD PARK produced their best display of the season so far but were still unable to end the unbeaten run of league newcomers Percy Park who triumphed 34-26 in a lively encounter at the Upper Park.
Birkenhead did achieve a four try bonus point for the second successive week but they were disappointed to let a 21-6 lead slip.
Hooker Stu Brown opened the scoring as the Park forwards took charge and Colin Campbell added a second.
Brown lost control of the ball going for his second but smart handling by the Park backs put winger Robbie Houliston over for a great score.
At 21-6 Park were firmly in control but crucially another Park attack broke down on the half way line and Percy Park took their chance for a try very much against the run of play.
The visitors continued to fight back after the break but did not take the lead until the 65th minute.
A further Percy Park try by Ashley Smith looked to have settled matters but Birkenhead responded immediately with a forceful try by centre Greg Hughes which closed the gap to just three points.
Birkenhead had secured a bonus point but were cruelly denied a second when Percy Park snatched a further try with the last move of the game.
Park Director of Rugby John McNally said: “It was disappointing to get just the one point out of the game as our performance deserved more. We are definitely improving and we should take more confidence from this performance.”
Scrum half Steve Lowry was again in terrific form and new stand off Sean Inghram showed some good touches. The return of centre Greg Hughes added much needed bite to the midfield.
It was an emotional day at the Upper Park with player coach Tony Handley standing down after nearly six years service.
The former England under 23 and Lancashire stand off has enjoyed a long and illustrious career, but with impending domestic commitments Handley has eventually called time on his long career. After many years outstanding service for Waterloo and Lancashire, Handley helped guide Park to the Cheshire Cup and the EDF Final at Twickenham.