Seventeen of Harrogate's points came in the first ten minutes of both halves and a strong defensive performace by Harrogate stopped Kendal narrowing the gap
After starting life at their new ground last weekend, Kendal made a first visit to Harrogate’s new ground at Ruddings Lane on the outskirts of the town, where they have re-located to since our last visit in 2012-13.
Kendal started with the same back division as last weekend. In the pack Dan Greenwood joining the back row, and Rob Wightman came in to the second row, as Will Montgomery, who had been due to play there in place of the unavailable Ben Leacock, had picked up an injury in training. Ross Mckay continued as the other second row, as Liam Hayton had still not recovered from injury. Duncan Green came in for the injured Garry Holmes in the front row. Robbie Collinson, Mark Carruthers and Alistair Thompson were on the bench.
Kendal made another poor started and were behind after just two minutes. Harrogate No.7 Jonny Coser, found a gap in the Kendal defence and made a good run down the right touchline from near halfway, and looked to be in for a score, before Dini Noyo caught him. The relief was short lived, as from the resulting scrum the ball was moved into the centre where left wing Luke Edwards popped up in the centre, to go in under the posts. Outside half Luke White added the conversion. 7v0.
Matthew Kaye was injured in the build up to the try, and was forced off, with Mark Carruthers getting an early introduction on the wing, with Dini Noyo moving to scrum half.
Harrogate continued to have the better of the opening exchanges and there were further injury worries, for first Matty Houghton who stayed on, and then Mike Fearon, who was forced off after twelve minutes, with Alistair Thompson coming on.
Kendal finally had a good period of pressure in the Harrogate half, and a number of players made ground, but the Harrogate defence had them well marshalled.
After twenty five minutes, Chris Park opened Kendal’s scoring with a penalty. 7v3.
Matthew Charters at No.8 and Dini Noyo at scrum half were both making ground whenever Kendal had scrums, but could not break down the Harrogate defence.
As the half came to an end there was another injury for Kendal, as Glenn Chesher was forced off, with Robbie Collinson coming on, and Duncan Green moving to prop.
In injury time a Kendal player running out of defence was isolated and forced to concede a penalty for failing to release the ball after a tackle, and Luke White extended his team’s lead with a penalty. 10v3
Before the half ended Kendal finally breached the Harrogate defence. Glen Weightman was twice involved in the build up, and when he released Dini Noyo he made a break to the line, before when tackled, offloading to Matthew Charters in support, who went over for the try. 10v8 at half time.
All the good work at the end of the first half was undone at the start of the second.
A number of missed tackled led to a Harrogate penalty, which was put to touch for the forwards to rumble to the line with No.4 Martin Dodds credited with the touchdown after three minutes of the half. 15v8.
A second try of the half followed just four minutes later. Another penalty was followed by a forward drive, which this time Kendal were able to resist, but could do nothing when the ball was quickly moved left and wing Ollie Rosillo had a clear run to the line. 20v8.
Matthew Kaye was able to come back on with Dini Noyo, returning to the wing in place of Mark Carruthers.
The final score of the game came after a quarter of an hour of play. Harrogate put another penalty to touch, for the forwards to again rumble to the line, for a try credited to No3 Connor Wood. 25v8.
Like in the first half, Kendal came back into the game, and probably had the better of territory, but rarely looked able to breach a solid Harrogate defence, and frequently good work was spoilt by loose passes, or ball lost in contact, which allowed Harrogate to clear their lines.
Rob Wightman made a good break from a lineout, but was stopped near the line, and when the ball was spread wide a loose pass saw Kendal back on the halfway line.
With ten minutes to play, Mark Carruthers returned for Alistair Thompson, who had had a good game.
Kendal looked as if they could add a late consolation try, but after good running by Damian Armstrong and Brett Ashley, the final pass was half intercepted by a Harrogate player, who knocked on which ended the move.
For a second week running, Kendal were beaten by a team who probably had slightly better quality players, after their relegation from a higher division last season. Whilst disrupted by injuries both before and during the game, the players who came in played well.
With no game scheduled for next weekend, there is now, a fortnight for injuries to heal, with Kris Bratton and Zane Butler, reported to be close to return. So there will hopefully soon be added competition for places in the back division.
KENDAL WEBSITE MAN OF THE MATCH : Matt Charters
Matt had a really good game, especially in the first half, and just edged out Ross Mckay and Dini Noyo.
As a number asked me at the game, about the serious injured at the end of last week’s game, where a Preston Grasshoppers player left the field on a stretcher after a mid-air collision with one of his own players. I had spotted this link on our website last weekend, with a positive outcome.
Preston Grasshoppers @RugbyHoppers : confirm that Jake Squirrell is fine after yesterday's game @ Kendal