Good Performance but Not Enough
By Mark Hodgkiss
For most of game it would have been difficult to work out who was the team in second and who was third bottom, but in the end Billingham took their chances and Kendal could not take theirs.
Liam Hayton was away, so Liam Ridley started in the second row. Chris Park moved to fullback and Glen Weightman to outside half, with Leo Mercer coming into the centre. Dom Musetti had failed a head injury assessment, so his place on the bench was taken by Billy Coxon.
Visitors Billingham started the day in second, with just one loss so far in the season.
It was a bad start from Kendal, making a number to mistakes, but they managed to escape and were soon into the game themselves.
From defence Glen Weightman chipped the ball through into midfield, Zane Butler chased the kick and gathered it making ground. He passed to Leo Mercer who made a good break, but with Myles Harrop in support outside on his left, he instead passed inside, and the ball went loose.
Twice Kendal put penalties to the corner, only to lose the lineout.
Luck seemed to be favouring Billingham with a number of loose balls, bouncing well for them.
After half an hour Jack Lashley was forced off with injury, leading to a first First XV appearance at the new Mintbridge for Billy Coxon, who was soon into the action.
In injury time, Glen Weightman put a kick through to chase himself, but was blocked by the Billingham No.8, who seemed to lead with his arm, but the referee was unsighted.
So the game reached half time scoreless.
The deadlock was finally broken after four minutes of the second half. A poor Kendal kick gave Billingham the ball, there was a break down the left and when the ball came right, there were a few missed tackles which allowed Billingham through to score. The outside half added the conversion 0v7.
The led was quickly doubled, a Kendal kick was charged down, and fell well for Billingham to gather and go through to score. 0v14.
This triggered a double change with Matthew Charters and John Dervey coming on for Steven Nelson and Liam Ridley.
With a strong wind in their favour Kendal continued to have the better of the play, but had few scoring chances.
Kirk Chettlebrough had picked up an injury earlier, and was finally forced off after twenty five minutes with Steven Nelson returning,
Shortly afterwards Chris Park opened the Kendal scoring with a penalty, after the Billingham fullback was yellow carded for illegally ending a Kendal attack. 3v14
Five minutes later Billingham added a third try, from short range by their No.8. 3v19.
Kendal lost a third player to injury with Matthew Charters going off and Liam Ridley returning.
There was a good run by Steven Nelson, but when he was stopped there was no one near enough in support.
With two minutes to play with Kendal on the attack in the Billingham half, the referee stopped play, and called Kendal prop Mark Irving across and Red Carded him, later signalling a punch.
In injury time Billingham got their fourth try for a bonus point. 3v24.
The final score did not really reflect the game, where Kendal probably had more of the ball and time on attack, with conditions favouring the Kendal pack who had a much improved game, but Kendal could not take their chances, whilst Billingham took theirs for a good victory, to keep pressure on Hull at the top of the table.
Your KENDAL MAN OF THE MATCH : Chris Downham
Yet again Chris was well ahead of the chasing pack, although eight others got at least a vote
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