Posted at 08:42h in 1st Team Match Reports
A personal view by Cammie Hodgkinson
Skipper and centre Dave Barton, second rows James Thompson and James Fishwick, flanker Stuart Storey, number eight Alex Rogers and stand off Mike Fearon were all on the injured list, Gareth Gore was side-lined so Kirkby went into this game without seven regulars. Tom Pickthall captained the side moving from twelve to ten, Will Brown came in at six and it was good to see Ross Towers back from a long term rib injury taking the seven shirt, Ryan Terry came in at twelve as centre and goal kicker.
Kendal ran out of match day programmes and the weather was atrocious with a high wind and freezing cold rain as Kirkby kicked off on the grass pitch playing right to left in front of the clubhouse. Kendal obliged by dropping the ball but they had the first chance at points when Kirkby didn’t roll away from a tackle quickly enough, but the kick into the wind from around forty metres was wide.
The first points did come to Kirkby when Kendal had hands in a ruck, Ryan Terry made no mistake with the penalty kick from thirty two metres and it was 0 – 3 after six minutes. Five minutes later Kirkby suffered a blow they didn’t need when hooker Dan Armistead was concussed in a tackle, spending several minutes under treatment on the turf before being able to rise and walk off taking no further part in the match, Ross Hobbs replacing him off the bench.
At the end of the first quarter it was a pretty even 50/50 type of match, both teams having their share of possession and chances, one thing of note being that Kirkby had lost every lineout they had up to that point. The Kendal scrum half was yellow carded for a late hit on his opposite number Ben Walker, Kirkby missed a penalty, and the game rocked back and forth until injury time when Ryan Terry banged over another penalty to give Kirkby the lead at half time 0 – 6.
Kendal made a good start to the second half pressing in the Kirkby twenty two and on the Kirkby line but the defence was good and Kendal were reduce to dropping a goal from stand off Nathan McCloy to put them on the board at 3 – 6. Maintaining the pressure Kendal opted for a lineout instead of a kickable penalty but again the Kirkby defence held and although Kendal had possession they were losing ground as Kirkby drove them back towards the half way line.
But a loose ball just outside the twenty two went Kendal’s way, they moved it fast right to winger Nick Carlton and he was able to score by the corner flag, the conversion was wide but the home side had the lead at 8 – 6 at the end of the third quarter. It was a typical local derby, feisty on the pitch and partisan off it and some sympathy had to go to all the players in the conditions as they fought off hypothermia in the freezing rain.
The next score came via a defensive howler from Kirkby who were attacking and put a kick towards Kendal’s left corner flag. Glen Weightman caught the ball and what started out as a speculative clearance kick became a match winning event when it flew on the wind straight down the touchline and then ran on straight and into the Kirkby try zone. Kirkby were first there and, for some reason, tried to run the ball out but were tackled on the line and when they held on it was a five metre scrum to Kendal. Kirkby might have been expecting a drive but Kendal’s classy number eight Chris Downham picked up and charged over for the try, again no conversion but the home side had extended their lead to 13 – 6 as forty minutes came up on the clock.
Kirkby hit back with an attacking spell which pinned Kendal in their twenty two, keeping possession as the match went into time added on and finally scoring through a Dave Maka try in the right corner with forty seven minutes on the clock. The last play would be Ryan Terry’s touchline conversion which would have levelled the scores and there would have been no injustice in that, but although dead centre the ball held up in the wind, fell inches short and the game went to Kendal 13 – 11.
The four points would be valuable to Kendal but they remain in the relegation zone. The losing bonus point Kirkby gained maintains their mid table position as the season goes into the Christmas break, resuming on 5th January when Ilkley visit Underley Park.
1 Dan Thompson
2 Dan Armistead
3 Braden Schiller
4 Leandro Kwiczor
5 Craig Galbraith
6 James Barker
7 Ross Towers
8 Dave Maka
9 Ben Walker
10 Tom Pickthall ( C )
11 Harry Huddleston
12 Ryan Terry
13 Scott Armstrong
14 Harry Ralston
15 Andrew Bargh
16 Ross Hobbs
17 James Barker
18 Lewis Williams