21 Jan Kirkby Lonsdale Development XV 70 -7 Northwich 2nds
Saturday saw the return of the Development team to Underley Park in 2018 with Alex Armistead staring for the second week in a row with yet another hat-trick of tries that helped the team climb to second in the league, only a point off the summit behind Blackburn.
With a wet pitch, a scrum fest looked to be the order of the day but credit to skipper Hallam who made sure they tried to run the ball at every opportunity, a tactic which in the main worked a treat, providing entertainment for a substantial crowd that had braved the cold.
The early exchanges were fairly even with a big Northwich pack making Kirkby work hard and forcing a few mistakes from the home team. However it was evident early on that Northwich had little attacking threat in the back line. It was this same back line that was to be tormented for the majority of the game with the young half back combination of Williams and Alker tormenting their opposite numbers and releasing a home back line eager to run, and run.
An early try for the home side was quickly cancelled out by the visitors who used their bulky forwards to good effect, and with ten minuets gone and a score line of 7 all, suggested the visitors were not for rolling over. But it was the first, and most serious, injury of the day that left the visitors with a man short that ultimately decided the outcome of this game.
Sensing there were tries to be had, the impressive James Alker also helped himself to a hat-trick. Whilst a much-improved Greenall bagged a brace with some deceptively pacey running. Coming on at half time Dan Helme added to the skill factor with some sublime passing at close quarters releasing his comrades into open ground. Horsfell, who has long been a Kirkby stalwart in any team at any position volunteered to help Northwich shirt for the last 15 minutes to keep the playing numbers even as their injury list grew.
Returning from their recent stints with the 1st XV, Fishwick and Towers made a difference to the dynamism and aggression both in attack and defence ably supported by the improving Wylder. A good day was rounded of with tries for Hallam, Brennand and Tomlinson with stand off Williams adding 7 conversions. Although injuries had taken their toll on Northwich, Kirkby were still good value for their win.
The coaching team of Bowden, Williams and Dowker had a less stressful weekend that they did last, but Kirkby’s promotion credentials will be further tested in the future, starting next week with an away trip to Burnage.
Alex Armistead – 3 tries, James Alker – 3 tries, James Greenall – 2 tries, Alex Hallam, Matt Brennand, Luke Tomlinson all 1 try and Harvey Williams – 7 conversions