Pocklington 10 – 17 Kirkby Lonsdale
A personal view by Cammie Hodgkinson
When the earlier fixture was frozen off it was thought that that wasn’t too bad since Kirkby had a couple of players injured at the time, but they travelled to this rearranged fixture without six first team regulars. Stand-off Dave Barton, prop Tyran Fagan, back row Craig Galbraith, winger Martyn Knapton and second row Matt Hughes were all unavailable or injured and prop Elliot Horner was on Lancashire County U20 duty.
This was Kirkby’s first ever visit to Pocklington, an eloquent and friendly club in East Yorkshire, who were similarly afflicted by absent players and this led to an evenly balanced and well contested game.
For Kirkby Agustin Cittadini took the ten shirt for the first time, Dan Armistead started in the front row, Dave Maka moved from eight to five, Will Brown started at six with his colleague from the development squad James Fishwick on the bench alongside James Law and Ross Towers for this must win game.
There was a bitterly cold wind blowing across the pitch as Kirkby kicked off playing left to right in front of the clubhouse but it was the beefy East Yorkshire side that applied the early pressure, hoping no doubt to build on their narrow loss to league leaders Preston Grasshoppers in their previous home game.
Kirkby weathered the storm and took play into home territory where number eight Alex Rogers picked up a loose ball at a ruck and charged over from just outside the Pock twenty two for the opening try, converted by Tom Pickthall to give Kirkby the lead at 0 – 7 after ten minutes.
From the restart they maintained the pressure and were prevented a second try when they were held up over the line but the Pock defence was good and they couldn’t benefit from the attacking five metre scrum, during this phase Will Brown was injured and replaced by James Fishwick.
The first half progressed with Kirkby having the slight edge and this materialised into a score when Pickthall banged over a penalty from around twenty five metres to make the score 0 – 10 at half time.
The cross field wind blew Pock’s second half restart into touch which gave Kirkby a scrum on half way. James Law had replaced Dan Armistead at three and it would have been some considerable time since J-Lo had pulled on a first team shirt but it was a seamless transition.
Kirkby attacked from the scrum and enjoyed a few moments in Pock territory and it was felt on the touchline that one more score would close out the game but that didn’t happen. Pock surged back into the Kirkby half and some scrambled defence on the twenty two saw the opposition scrum half David Davison come up with the ball, a jink and a half tackle later and he was in for a try, the conversion from number ten Christian Pollock bringing the home side to 7 – 10 inside the first ten minutes of the half and the game was back on.
Back on even more when Kirkby went offside in front and Pollock tapped over the penalty to level things at 10 – 10 as the third quarter drew to a close. Kirkby missed a long range penalty when Pock held on but the visitors were having slightly the better of things and the tireless pocket rocket Stuart Storey confirmed this when he bulldozed over for a try, Pickthall’s conversion was good and the lead was restored at 10 – 17 which was to be the final score.
It was a long last ten minutes, Kirkby’s Ross Towers came off the bench to scrum half and Kirkby had a lot of defending to do, particularly from Pock’s number eight ex Scotland rugby league international Andy Little who ran strongly from the back of their scrum all day. But defend they did and when the moment came hooker Matt Holyland was in possession near the line and he booted the ball many miles off the pitch to end the game, one in which the scratch Kirkby side did themselves and the Club proud.
This catch up game win restores Kirkby’s position in the mid table mix as they head to a possibly defining away game at Morley next Saturday, but the weather God’s may have a say since heavy snow is forecast later this week.
1 Dan Thompson
2 Matt Holyland
3 Dan Armistead
4 Gareth Gore
5 Dave Maka
6 Will Brown
7 Stuart Storey
8 Alex Rogers
9 Ben Walker
10 Agustin Cittadini
11 Harry Huddleston
12 Tom Pickthall
13 Scott Armstrong
14 Harry Ralston
15 Matt Bargh
16 James Law
17 James Fishwick
18 Ross Towers