Broughton Park 2nds 33 -36 Kirkby Lonsdale Development XV

Saturday saw the return of rugby post the Christmas celebrations with the seconds travelling to an exposed cold and windy Broughton Park.  Park themselves, whilst a couple of positions below Kirkby in a congested league table, have only lost one more game so a tight game was always on the cards.

It would be nice to say the game started brightly, but we couldn’t, Kirkby still thinking of their Christmas turkey and mince pies made an average start at best and allowed a much bigger opposition space to run at them, dominating possession and territory, and with some very poor Kirkby defence the home side were quickly two tries to the good and looking in precarious form.

Matters went from bad to worse when a case of ‘handbags at dawn’ saw Kirkby No 8 Potgieter sat on the side-line for 10 minutes.  Coach Steve Williams tried his best to steady the ship and made an early change in the centres with Dan Smith replacing James Greenall, even that didn’t do much good with Smith coming off fairly quickly with a hamstring injury.

With half time approaching and the home side running in another two tries and the score at 26-0 it was looking like a long trip home for Kirkby. But it was through the experience of Laddel and the Law brothers that Kirkby started to pick up, and in the last ten minutes of the first half two tries in quick succession from Laddel and a very sharp looking Armistead, Alex not Dan! Gave the visitors some hope with a half time score of 26-12.

Williams and Bowden did their best to raise the troops at half time, asking them to build on the last ten minutes that had seen a marked improvement. The second half started in a far brighter fashion, with Kirkby getting up in their defensive line and Wylder was working tirelessly with his young counterpart Alker directing his infantry well at No9.  With cohesion coming to the back line and good hands, Kirkby started to flow. Harvey Williams released the centres who both found and made space yards for themselves before Laddel finished an excellent move for his second of the day.

With the gap narrowing Kirkby confidence grew and Alex Armistead found himself with numerous opportunities and space to run at his opponents adding two very well taken long range tries to his tally and putting Kirkby within touching distance of the lead.

The home side managed to rally following a serious injury. Some very effective intimidation tactics from the home sides forwards put Kirkby firmly on the back foot with a rear guard action.  Dan Armistead, as he had done all day marshalled his own forwards whilst at the same time made sure the opposition knew he was there.  Despite resolute defence, the penalty count against prevented Kirkby from holding out with the home side crossing the line and retaking the lead.

With Dan Armistead having put in his all it was time for a cameo appearance from Simon Dowker.  Kirkby’s tails were in the air now and they were determined not to lose out now. Hallam, once again, spurred his charges on with effective go forward before Augustin Cittidani finished some fine approach play with a try that took the visitors back into the lead. Williams added the third of his three conversions.

It was the experience from the like of Laddel, Law, Armistead and Dowker that guided this young side through what seemed from the side-line to be some ‘Fergie Time’ going on with the home side camped on the Kirkby line receiving penalty after penalty, but, the defence was resolute and the first victory of 2018 was Kirkby’s by the narrowest of margins.  A week on the training ground and a new challenge will present itself next week in the form of Northwich 2nds, kick off at 2.15, see you there…

Alex Armistead – 3 tries (wing) Augustin Cittidani – 1 try John Laddel – 2 tries Harvey Williams – 3 conversions