Kirkby Lonsdale 5 – 11 Lymm
Carelessness costs Kirkby – A personal view by Cammie Hodgkinson
Lymm are in their seventh consecutive season at this league level and in the away game in October they were flying high in second place, a position they retained going into this fixture. Kirkby had travelled to the away game with a much weakened side but they came away with a losing bonus point, one of only two such points Lymm had conceded at that time and the feeling was that a full strength side at Underley Park would be capable of a win, it was capable but it didn’t win.
Weather conditions were good although the pitch was heavy after the weeks of rain as Kirkby kicked off towards the town. It was Lymm’s first league visit to Underley Park and they should have been made to work hard to get the ball but Kirkby repeatedly kicked away possession in the early stages and Lymm’s high scoring backs all got an early touch which allowed them to settle in quickly and gleefully run it back. Another Kirkby kick handed possession over yet again and Lymm were over for an unconverted try in the right corner with only seven minutes played and the visitors couldn’t have had a better or more comfortable start, 0 – 5.
A high Lymm tackle gave Kirkby a penalty and then a lineout a few metres from the left corner flag but Lymm held the catch and drive. The ball came back and into the hands of stand-off Dave Barton who created the moment of the match with a sublime move involving a number of players, he being involved twice in the loop, then cutting through the defence to feed young full back Matthew Bargh who scored his debut first team try. The conversion was missed as was an earlier kickable penalty and the scores were level at 5 – 5 with quarter of an hour played.
Lymm edged back in front with a penalty when Kirkby went offside in front of the sticks and it was 5 – 8 at the end of the first quarter. Kirkby came back and should have scored but the ball carrier didn’t get the pass away and ran into the tackle inside the Lymm twenty two with two unmarked players on the inside only ten metres from the line. With five minutes of the first half to play prop Tyran Fagan limped off with a leg injury, Elliot Horner coming off the bench to replace him and there was no further score when the whistle went.
For the second half Alex Rogers replaced Matt Hughes in the second row and Kirkby butchered another chance, a break took play down the right and only needed the scoring pass to be held but it was dropped and the error count was assuming a significant proportion. It was Kirkby though who were turning the screw with field position and possession in the Lymm half but when the visitors were penalised for holding on some thirty metres out yet another kickable penalty was missed.
As the half progressed and Kirkby attacked a sequence of five metre scrums put Lymm under sustained pressure and the referee, Mr Thomas Hurdley of the Leicestershire Society, may have been a bit lenient on the Lymm scrum as they struggled to survived without conceding a penalty. During this period Kirkby tried drives and backs moves and number eight Dave Maka came very close to scoring but credit to the Lymm defence it held every assault and relief came for them with another Kirkby error when they knocked on going for the line.
For Kirkby Agustin Cittadini replaced Bargh at full back and a rare foray into the home half by Lymm produced another ‘sitter’ of a penalty when Kirkby went offside in front of the posts. Sam Konczynski could have kicked it in his flip flops and Lymm duly obliged to make the score 5 – 11.
Kirkby came back looking for the score they were worth and as they hammered the Lymm defence their number five, Matt Connelly, was red carded for connecting with a punch, later claiming it was in retaliation but as Mandy Rice-Davies once observed, “he would say that wouldn’t he”.
The game drew to a close in injury time, the ref had called last play with Kirkby in possession inside the Lymm twenty two and running at the line with men outside but for some inexplicable reason the ball carrier chose to grub kick through. The ball went dead and the game was over at 5 – 11 and if one event typified Kirkby’s error strewn afternoon this was it. In the league of fourteen Lymm were in second and Kirkby in eleventh but a casual observer would have been hard put to decide which was which since there was little between them on the day and this typifies the general competitiveness of the Northern Premier league. Later in the packed clubhouse Kirkby’s Man of the Match award went to Gareth Gore for a barnstorming performance at number four.
The losing bonus point whilst perhaps disappointing is another step towards league security in this first season at this level and let’s hope the players can flush this game away and clear their minds as they travel to the crucial rearranged fixture at Pocklington next Saturday.
1 Tyran Fagan
2 Matt Holyland
3 Dan Thompson
4 Gareth Gore
5 Matt Hughes
6 Craig Galbraith
7 Stuart Storey
8 David Maka
9 Ben Walker
10 Dave Barton
11 Harry Huddleston
12 Scott Armstrong
13 Tom Pickthall
14 Harry Ralston
15 Matt Bargh
16 Elliot Horner
17 Alex Rogers
18 Agustin Cittadini