By Mark Hodgkiss
Despite a fright being 10v0 down at half time with two tries against the run of play, the team came back to tie the scores then take advantage of Kirkby ill Discipline to run away with the game
Kendal came to Kirkby Lonsdale looking for a first league win there at their fifth attempt, to kick start the season after last week’s loss at Ilkley, whilst Kirkby had started with a bonus point win away at Wilmslow.
Kendal started with newcomer Jack Blakeney Edwards, who had been playing at a higher level last season, in the centre, with Zane Butler moving to fullback, whilst New Zealander flanker Kirk Chettleburgh started on the bench. There was a blow for Kirkby as experience captain Dave Barton had pulled out with an injury.
The forecast heavy rain turned out to be lighter and stopped early in the game.
From the start Kendal seemed to be in control, but could make little impact on a well marshalled solid Kirkby defence. Jack Blakeney Edwards made a number of good breaks, which showed his ability, but good Kirkby defence cut out the option of passes out of the tackle, to keep the moves going.
There was a blow for Kendal after ten minutes when Zane Butler was forced off. This led to a re-shuttle of the back division, with Nick Carlton coming onto the right wing, Dini Noyo going to fullback, and Myles Harrop swapping wings.
There was an early sign of the Kendal scrummaging dominance to come, as Kirkby were driven off the ball, only for Kendal to be penalised for taking the scrum down, which certainly was not in their interest.
Kirkby had a chance to open the scoring, when Ben Walker put a kick up field, which was chased by fullback Matthew Bargh, who was very quickly up to force a penalty. With so little ball, Kirkby outside half Mike Fearon had a long range attempt at goal, but it did not make the distance.
A good Dini Noyo run looked as if it had set up a first score. Nick Carlton took the move on and then released Myles Harrop, with what looked like a scoring pass, only for the referee to adjudge the pass to have been forward.
This looked as if it may have been a turning point in the game, as whilst the Kendal pack drove their opposite numbers back, Ben Walker made good use of the bad ball, making a break down the right wing, dummying passes several times to keep the Kendal defence at bay. When he was finally stopped, the ball came back quickly, and Mike Fearon put an excellent cross field kick to the Kendal line, and with the defence out of place, all Kirkby player coach Scott Armstrong need to do was to gather the ball, to go over for a try totally against the run of play. 5v0
Chris Downham was injured tackling Ben Walker, leading to a second enforced change with Kirk Chettleburgh making his debut.
Kirkby were soon to double their unlikely lead. The kick off was returned, and the ball split, with the Kirkby replacement scrum half gathered the loose ball, and outpaced the wrong footed defence to score. 10v0.
Kendal continued to have more ball, but there were few chances. With the last move of the half, Danny Barker made a good run down the right, but delayed his pass to Nick Carlton, until it was too late.
Fears that it was going to be “one of those days” (not for the first time at Kirkby) were quickly dampened at the start of the second half, with Kendal coming back fired up, and soon caught Kirkby napping. The Kendal kick off was returned by Kirkby, but Dini Noyo at fullback gathered cleanly and scythed through the Kirkby defence, evading numerous attempted tackles. When he was stopped in the twenty two, the ball came back to Glen Weightman, and despite having Nick Carlton in support, he forced his way over for the opening Kendal score. Jack Blakeney Edwards added the conversion 10v7.
Three minutes later and Kendal were on level terms. Another good run from Dini Noyo, who was finding gaps in the Kirkby defence, which had not been there in the first half, was stopped by the Kirkby 12, who then made no attempt to roll away from the tackle, giving Jack Blakney Edwards the opportunity to add a penalty. 10v10.
After ten minutes Kirkby were reduced to fourteen men, when their replacement scrum half needlessly gave a penalty away, by knocking a Kendal pass down on halfway, but was possibly unfortunately to also get a yellow card for his action.
Despite being temporarily reduced further by an injury, the backs to the wall Kirkby defence continued to cut out any Kendal attacks.
There was drama after twenty minutes, a Kendal attack seemed to have been ended in the Kirkby twenty two, when the ball was lost forward, but the referee quickly signalled to the captain and flanker David Maka, pulling them away from the play, and after a short discussion produced a Red card for Maka. Danny Barker required attention.
From the penalty, Kendal went for a scrum having dominated this area when against eight. Matthew Charters picked up and did all the hard work to beat the defence, only to lose the ball on his way to the line.
This allowed Kirkby to clear their lines and set up an attack of their own, with a further penalty and long kick to the corner giving them a lineout on the Kendal line, only for Kirk Chettleburgh to steal the ball to clear the pressure.
Finally after twenty five minutes play Kendal took the lead. Kirkby were penalised at a scrum and Jack Blakeney Edwards added a penalty. 10v13.
The game was made safe three minutes later. Dini Noyo gathered a kick in his own half, and fed John Dervey. Second row forwards, seventy minutes into bruising encounters, are not expected to run in tries from their own half, but that was just what he did. Like Ben Walker had done to set up Kirkby’s opening try, he used his support runner well, to fool the defence, but the pass back to Dini Noyo never came, and a change of pace and direction allowing him to beat the Kirkby cover to score. Jack Blakeney Edwards added the conversion. 10v20.
Kendal made their final change with five minutes to play with Robbie Collinson coming on at hooker in place of Garry Holmes.
Kendal went off the boil, often kicking good ball away to Kirkby, although now it was the Kendal defence quickly stifling their opponent’s attacks.
At the end of normal time, there was confusion in the Kendal team when awarded a penalty in the Kirkby half. Rather than go for the scrum or kick to the line, it was decided to go for the posts, despite an extra scoring having little benefit. The kick failed, and Kendal were unexpectedly given a second chance, when the referee spotted the over eager Kirkby player, failed to touch the ball down before throwing it out for a quick restart, and awarded Kendal a scrum. This time Matthew Charters made no mistake, touching down as the scrum drove Kirkby over the line. Jack Blakeney Edwards added the conversion. 10v27.
Kirkby finished the stronger and Kendal’s Kirk Chettleburgh was yellow carded, but handling errors allowed Kendal to steal the ball and end the game victorious.
Despite the dominant performance, there is still plenty more work needed on better decision making, which with the Kirkby blanket defence, meant a bonus point was not picked up from a performance that deserved one.
However to put the result into perspective, only four teams won at Kirkby last season (and none for several seasons before that). Only Hull and Harrogate scored 27 or more points, only Hull won by more than seventeen points, and stopped Kirkby picking up a bonus point, and only Lymm kept them under ten points.
Obviously a different Kirkby side this season, and as we have found ourselves, it is difficult to replace old heads upfront, with Matt Hughes and Gareth Gore are certainly very big shoes to fill. They will have to hope their new Australian (?) prop can shore up the scrum, as there will be far greater tests to come against stronger packs than ours, and if there excellent back division are starved of ball, there will again find themselves in defence for long periods, relying on opposition errors for opportunities.
A similar performance (with the errors cut out) is needed next weekend, to keep the momentum, against newly promoted Vale of Lune, as the team starts it home League programme.
Your KENDAL MAN OF THE MATCH : John Dervey
"That" try, another good lineout performance, and plenty more good work saw John top the poll for a second week, this time by a wider margin.
Not too far behind were Dini Noyo, who after a few shaky moments when moved to fullback early in the game, came back strongly in the second half to cause Kirkby all sorts of problems, and Steven Nelson, who again put in plenty of hard work in the less visable areas of the game.
Eight players got at least one vote, and the competition for places is demonstrated by two of them having started on the bench.
|sub on||Kendal||21||Nick Carlton||11||0||0|
|Try||Kirkby Lonsdale||13||Scott Armstrong||36||5||0|
|sub on||Kendal||19||Kirk Chettleburgh||37||5||0|
| = = =|| = = =|| = = =||HALF TIME||40+5||10||0|
|Con||Kendal||12||Jack Blakeney Edwards||42||10||7|
|Pen||Kendal||12||Jack Blakeney Edwards||44||10||10|
|R/C||Kirkby Lonsdale||6||David Maka||59||10||10|
|Pen||Kendal||12||Jack Blakeney Edwards||66||10||13|
|Con||Kendal||12||Jack Blakeney Edwards||70||10||20|
|sub on||Kendal||18||Robbie Collinson||74||10||20|
|Con||Kendal||12||Jack Blakeney Edwards||80||10||27|
| = = =|| = = =|| = = =||FULL TIME||88||10||27|
After just two games, only Blaydon and Billingham have two wins and only Alnwick and Vale of Lune have yet to win.
|Vale of Lune||19||27||Wilmslow|