Whilst victory was not safe, or the bonus point secured until late in the game, Morley rarely looked able to get the scores to snatch victory
Ben Leacock and Kris Bratton returned after missing the game at Lymm, and Chris Downham made a first start since being injured against Kirkby Lonsdale in December. In a late change Matt Charters was replaced by Ben Dixon.
Visitors Morley had had a number of good recent results, despite sitting in the bottom three, and would have targeted the game as one they needed to win to keep alive hopes of escaping relegation.
Morley started well, but Kendal had the better of the opening exchanges, keeping their visitors in their own half, but had few opportunities of their own to score. Morley were on top at the scrum, winning a number of penalties on their own put in, but Ben Dixon managed to steal a number of Morley throws at the lineout.
After a quarter of an hour Glen Weightman was injured after taking a Morley kick. He appeared to be tackled before reaching the ground, but the referee took no action. Chris Park came on and went to fullback, with Nathan Wooff moving to outside half.
Kendal had further injury problems with Jack Lashley being ready to come on for Ross Mckay, although he was not needed at that point, Lashley was shortly on for Dom Musetti. He was soon finding gaps and made a number of runs into space, but the Morley defence regrouped, and the attacks came to nothing.
Good work by Lashley in midfield set up the opening score. The ball was moved to Kris Bratton who had already had a number of good runs, but had been well marshalled by the Morley defence and had not been able to get passes away. This time he bounced off a number of tacklers, on a trademark weaving run to the line. Chris Park added the conversion. 7v0
Ross Mckay finally left the field, and with Robbie Collinson the other forward substitute, he went to hooker, with Garry Holmes moving to No.8, and Chris Downham into the second row.
As the half came to an end, Kendal stepped up a gear, and Morley conceded a penalty just inside their half. Chris Park’s was given the long range kick, which hit the cross bar, bouncing back into play, and the half time score remained 7v0.
The second half continued in the same way, with play mostly taking place between the two twenty twos.
The second try came after twenty minutes of the half, when Kendal not for the first time were penalised for a technical office at the breakdown when on the attack. Then again not for the first time, the Morley penalty failed to make touch. Chris Park gathered and returned a kick, which found a Morley forward near halfway, who knocked on. Kendal gathered the ball, which was quickly moved to the wing where Brett Ashley had a clear run to the line, and just managed to outpace the Morley defence to score in the corner. 12v0.
Dom Musetti returned in place of Jack Lashley.
Morley appeared to be tiring, and Nathan Wooff stretched them with a number of long low kicks which were chased by the Kendal backline, with Danny Barker making a number of crunching tackles to force Morley into handling errors, to keep Kendal on the attack.
The break through finally came with six minutes to play. From a scrum in mid-field the ball was moved left, with Kris Bratton again doing the rest, to get his second try. 17v0.
Kendal were quickly back on the attack, looking for the fourth try for the bonus point. It came with two minutes of normal time to play, with Dom Musetti finishing off good work by the team in the Morley twenty two, rampaging through a gap to touch down. 22v0.
Morley went looking for a consolation try, and in injury time Kendal were again penalised at a scrum, and Glenn Chesher was yellow carded.
Despite being more than three scores ahead, and already in injury time, the Kendal team defended like they had a less than single score lead, forcing a Morley lineout drive into touch on the tryline, then turning over ball to end the game.
A fortnight off, as next weekend is free, with St Benedict’s once again failing to agree a date for the Cumberland Cup and forfeiting the tie. In a fortnight there will be a tough visit to Billingham, with the next home game being Sandal on the 10th March, by which time it will be light enough to return to 3.00pm kick offs.
YOUR Kendal Man of the Match : Kris Bratton
Two excellent tries, a few more great runs, and a number of good tackles saw Kris well ahead of the rest.