02 Dec Wirral 27-22 Kirkby Lonsdale
A personal view by Cammie Hodgkinson
Wirral kicked off towards their clubhouse on a gloomy day, rain was in the air but it didn’t materialise although a mercurial wind did, occasionally strong then suddenly still. The first few minutes of the game were a kind of mid-field stalemate, each side probing the other but neither able to make much progress when in possession.
This stalemate was broken when Scott Armstrong picked up where he left off last week, taking a pass on half way and running through Wirral to score by the posts, Mike Fearon’s conversion giving Kirkby the lead at 0 – 7 with ten minutes played.
Then some kind of collective amnesia seemed to overcome Kirkby, a kind of walkabout period only an Aborigine might have understood. A gap appeared and Wirral strolled through for a try, the conversion was missed but the home side were on the board at 5 – 7 with seventeen minutes played. Then to add to the malaise Kirkby’s restart kick didn’t go ten so it was ball back to Wirral with a scrum in the centre, two minutes later they were in again this time converted to put them in the lead at 12 – 7.
Again Kirkby’s restart didn’t go ten, with possession from the scrum Wirral scored another converted try and in the space of ten minutes had run in three tries, converting two, to take them into a handy 19 – 7 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Kirkby did show signs of waking up on the half hour with a try from winger Harry Huddleston converted by full back Ryan Terry to make it 19 – 14. And Terry was on target again with an excellent penalty into the wind from around forty metres to close the gap further to 19 – 17 which remained the score at half time and at that point Kirkby were back in the game. Two minutes into the second half though Wirral slotted a penalty to make it 22 – 17, four minutes later they scored an unconverted try to extend their lead to 27 – 17 and the game seemed to be slipping away from Kirby again.
But then Kirkby found some form and began to dominate play and as the half hour approached Terry was back on the score sheet with a try in the right corner. His touchline conversion shaved the wrong side of the post but there were only five points in it at 27 – 22 with ten minutes of normal time to play.
Through the second half and especially though this period Wirral were picking up injuries left right and centre and there were lots of stoppages in the half, including a change of boots as the clock ran down. Kirkby had possession, attacking positions and chances to win the game but they didn’t take them. On forty minutes with Kirkby battering the line there was another lengthy stoppage for a Wirral injury which took play into time added on but when play recommenced it seemed to be for a shorter time than this one injury itself had consumed, the whistle went and somehow Wirral had hung on.
In the last quarter Kirkby were unable to convert their pressure into points that would have won the game, and the case could also be made that the game was lost during their ‘walkabout’ period in the first half when they conceded three reasonably soft tries. Results elsewhere and the losing bonus point Kirkby picked up meant they started the day in eighth position in the league and finished it in seventh. Although a very tough test awaits next week at home to third placed Blaydon who will be seeking to close the gap on second placed Billingham who are away at league leaders Hull. Team
- Dan Thompson
- Dan Armistead
- Braden Schiller
- Craig Galbraith
- James Thompson
- Dave Maka
- James Fishwick
- Alex Rogers
- Ben Walker
- Mike Fearon
- Harry Huddleston
- Tom Pickthall
- Scott Armstrong
- Harry Ralston
- Ryan Terry
- Ross Hobbs
- Leandro Kwiczor
- Andrew Bargh