15 Jan Kirkby Lonsdale 17-5 Vale of Lune
To no aVale
A personal view by Cammie Hodgkinson
Vale arrived at Underley Park pumped up but were dismantled in the scrum and tackled out of the game in open field play by a well organised and determined Kirkby side, which saw a few changes.
Prop Ross Hobbs who stepped up to first team duty very well this season is off to play in New Zealand and Dave Maka has accepted an offer to play in France, both will be missed and we wish them well, on the bright side scrum half Ben Walker was available.
Under a grey sky and a slight drizzle which persisted all day Kirkby kicked off towards the town, applied the early pressure and announced their intentions early on by driving Vale off their put in at a scrum. Kirkby took the lead at 3 – 0 on eleven minutes when stand off Mike Fearon kicked a penalty and an unconverted Craig Galbraith try at the end of the first quarter extended this to 8 – 0.
Ben Walker had looked likely to score, he was held close to the line but flicked the ball back between his legs, it wasn’t taken cleanly but there was no knock on and Galbraith was on hand to clean things up and force his way over.
Vale then hit back with a try from their classy centre Jordan Dorrington who found a rare gap in the defence and his pace from outside Kirkby’s twenty two took him over, no conversion but the visitors were on the board at 8 – 5.
Normal service was resumed on the half hour with another Fearon penalty, this time a dazzler from forty metres out to make it 11 – 5 and as the half drew to a close the tally rose to 14 – 5 with yet another penalty from the deadly Fearon and that was the score when the half time whistle went.
Kirkby started strongly in the second half with a run down the left touchline by Stuart Storey. He was held just short of the line but the ball was recycled and the Kirkby forwards turned the screw with a series of scrums which had the Vale in disarray. Penalties were awarded and Kirkby kept opting for the scrum but came away pointless from this period of pressure near the opposition line.
Walker again went close with a dart for the line but the first points of the half didn’t come until near the end of the third quarter and it was Fearon again with his fourth penalty, it wobbled a bit but had the legs to go over to make it 17 – 5 with twenty minutes to play.
There was then a lengthy discussion in the Vale camp which ended with them deciding they did not have two fit props and they opted for uncontested scrums. This did mean they had to have a player leave the field but their backs were complete and they would have some ball to work with.
Kirkby had lost their advantage of dominance in the scrum but they did have the extra man but only for around half a minute before the ref yellow carded skipper Dave Barton. So it was uncontested scrums and fourteen men on each side for half the remaining time and wise and knowledgeable faces in the Kirkby crowd were wearing quizzical looks.
This is where the tackling came in, Vale had a lot of possession and their backs used it well but they couldn’t break the Kirkby line, the defence held, the score remained 17 – 5 at the end and the visitors went away pointless.
The four points Kirkby gained take them to thirty eight with forty sometimes seen as the safety barrier so with ten games to play that should be achievable as they head away to a tough fixture at Alnwick next week.
1 Dan Thompson
2 Dan Armistead
3 Braden Schiller
4 Leandro Kwiczor
5 James Thompson
6 Craig Galbraith
7 Stuart Storey
8 James Barker
9 Ben Walker
10 Mike Fearon
11 Harry Huddleston
12 Dave Barton ( C )
13 Scott Armstrong
14 Harry Ralston
15 Ryan Terry
16 Alex Briggs
17 Will Brown
18 Tom Pickthall