Kirkby Lonsdale 48 – 15 Wirral

Pieces of Eight – A personal view by Cammie Hodgkinson

Overcast at Underley Park but there was a golden glow around the ground and an atmosphere of expectation that Kirkby would bounce back from two narrow away losses at Sandal and Morley with a convincing win against Wirral. By the Dickens these Great Expectations were not disappointed as Kirkby ran in eight tries, a hat trick from Dave Barton, a brace (and an assist) from Ben Walker with further contributions from Harry Huddleston, Alex Rogers and Stu Storey.

Wirral kicked off towards the town and Kirkby had a period of possession but good tackling from the visitors prevented Kirkby from running the ball out and when they infringed a penalty from the deadly boot of Wirral stand-off James Annetts gave the visitors the lead at 0 – 3 after five minutes.

Then came an early flare from full back Ryan Terry who caught a Wirral clearance kick just outside his own twenty two, hoisted it back, sprinted through, leapt like a salmon and caught it inside the Wirral half. This gave Kirkby field position and possession from which Barton and Walker wove some magic to cut through Wirral for the opening try by Walker, converted by Terry to put Kirkby ahead 7 – 3 with nine minutes played.

Five minutes later Kirkby were in again when the increasingly confident young winger Harry Huddleston spun out of a tackle to score by the left corner flag, Terry’s conversion drifted wide but the lead had extended to 12 – 3. It was mainly Kirkby now, brief flashes (can I say that?) from Wirral but predominantly home ascendency and from being held up over the Wirral line they put in a huge drive from the five metre scrum to create a try scoring opportunity in the right corner for number eight Alex Rogers, and he doesn’t waste them. Terry’s conversion from wide out missed but Kirkby had a decent margin at 17 – 3 at the end of the first quarter.

Then a moment to savour, Wirral restarted, Kirkby caught the ball and moved it to Barton who cut through a tackle then  passed to Walker who was running in support like a sniffer dog. There were Wirral players around but they could only watch as Walker fed it back to Barton who took it up and then slipped it back, it looked like Walker would score but cover was there and drawing it he moved it back inside to Barton for the bonus point fourth try and Wirral hadn’t touched the ball. An outstanding moment from two outstandingly gifted ex Kirkby juniors which brought a huge and appreciative roar from the crowd and extended Kirkby’s lead to 22 – 3.

Wirral needed to hit back before Kirkby disappeared out of site and they did, spurning a kickable penalty for a lineout in the left corner from which they caught and drove but moved the ball inside when they were held and got over for an unconverted try to make it 22 – 8 at half time.

And they were first to score in the second half, a converted try which narrowed the gap to 22 – 15 and what had looked to be a comfortable position for Kirkby was suddenly in the balance. Wirral began to have an excellent spell running the ball at Kirkby from all over the field, the home side had a lot of defending to do and things were in the balance for a while until Barton struck again with his second try, Terry’s conversion from wide out hit the post but there was breathing space at 27 – 15 inside the final quarter.

But as the game drew to a close it was all Kirkby. A break from Walker opened up Wirral and created a try for Stu Storey playing on the wing in this game, he had plenty to do but with a flankers power ran through the defence to score and Terry nailed the difficult conversion to create a winning lead of 34 – 15. Barton’s excellent hat trick came up with a try in the right corner, Terry again spot on with a difficult kick to make it 41 – 15 and the final nail went in when Walker crossed for his second and Kirkby’s try number eight, converted to make the final score 48 – 15.

To cap his eye catching display Ryan Terry Picked up the Man of the Match award and some mention must be made of the heroic tackling displays from prop Tyran Fagan and number seven Ross Towers who, at the end of the game, looked like he’d been run over by a herd of migrating Wildebeest.

Team

  1. Dan Armistead
  2. Matt Holyland
  3. Tyran Fagan
  4. Gareth Gore
  5. Matt Hughes
  6. Craig Galbraith
  7. Ross Towers
  8. Alex Rogers
  9. Ben Walker
  10. Dave Barton
  11. Harry Huddleston
  12. Tom Pickthall
  13. Matt Bargh
  14. Stu Storey
  15. Ryan Terry
  16. James Law
  17. Will Brown
  18. Callum Little