Total Commitment Alas No Points !
By Mark Hodgkiss
Match report from Bernard Parsons
On an “auld grey” day Kendal welcomed Alnwick to Mintbridge. Newly promoted, Alnwick have adjusted well to playing in the North Premier League. Amongst their eight victories so far was a comprehensive victory over Kendal at home. Kendal have a blend of youth and experience today from 1 to 15 . Billy Coxon in the no 1 shirt and Chris Park wearing 15 and the youth’s in between.
Alnwick kicked off towards the Shap road. Kendal didn’t secure the ball cleanly and it was snaffled by the visitors. They drove on with the forwards and with referee playing an advantage, their scrum half skipped round the blind side virtually unopposed to score under the posts. Simple conversion. 0-7, and only 27 seconds played. Now Mark can you find in your archives a quicker try conceded?
It wasn’t much better at the restart. Although Alnwick knocked on, a Kendal chaser made contact whilst the receiver was still in the air, just a penalty fortunately, no yellow card. However Alnwick were back on the attack and playing with confidence. The home defence was now warming to their task. Not being able to run through the home side, Alnwick chipped the ball over. Myles Harrop marked the ball and eventually Glen Weightman cleared to touch.
Having weathered the early storm without conceding further, Kendal finally had possession in the visitors half. A penalty for a high tackle on Chris Park was kicked into the 22. As Kendal attacked down the left the referee awarded a penalty. With bodies on the ground and a slight delay. Opinions around me were expressed as who and what it was for. It became clear when Mr Doig raised a yellow card and an Alnwick player trudged off. Chris Park was accurate with his kick from fairly wide out on the left. 3v7 with 12 minutes gone.
Chris Park returned an Alnwick clearance high into their 22. Nick Carlton chased and caught the ball acrobatically. The ball was moved right, but Glen Weightman’s chip over the defence was marked and Alnwick were able to clear.
Early line outs were not a 100% but the scrum was solid, resulting in a penalty on 18 minutes. This took play into the visitors half and after several phases Chris Downham broke down the left, but couldn’t get his pass away to Myles Harrop on the outside.
As the half progressed Kendal had a sweeping backs move from right to left. It was stopped when Dini, Noyo threatening to ease through a gap near the line lost the ball in contact.
Danny Barker stopped another Alnwick attack with a crunching tackle, but on the half hour Alnwick set up a maul deep in the home 22. It was stopped illegally and sniffing a weakness they kicked to the right hand corner. The throw was secured and a well drilled blue and yellow tide rushed over the line. The conversion was wide. 32 minutes 3-12
Another penalty at the scrum enabled the next attack to be cleared. The visitors were looking for another score and in injury time with an overlap on the left the ball carrier chose to step inside. He was enveloped in a Chris Downham tackle and the half came to an end on 42 minutes.
Seeking a quote on the first half performance from a far wiser man than me, I was told by a regular supporter home and away that they were playing with real heart. He then retired to the bar for quick refreshments!
Ben Dixon replaced Steve Nelson at halftime. The next score would be crucial, Alnwick were first on the attack but with an overlap the ball was lost forward.
Kendal were now back on the attack with Kirk Chettleburgh bursting through the centre, Chris Downham carried the move on. When it came back to Glen Weightman he chipped for Nick Carlton in the right hand corner. Alnwick scrambled the ball into touch.
The throw was taken cleanly, but as the ball was moved across the field it was lost forward.
Alnwick threatened down the right and Myles Harrop made a try saving tackle, but still on the attack they were awarded a kickable penalty. Fortunately the attempt was short, and Nick Carlton caught the ball under the posts and set off on an adventurous run when stopped the ball was cleared by Glen Weightman.
Midway through the half with Alnwick threatening, Dini Noyo tapped the try scoring pass backwards to save the day.
On 28 minutes a Kendal penalty, though kickable was put into the corner. When the maul was stopped an Alnwick player strayed offside and received a yellow card. From the next maul there was cries of jubilation from the home supporters in that corner who thought Billy Coxon had scored. Unfortunately the referee was unsighted, and said the ball was held up. Not his fault I think the standard of refereeing is excellent at this level and Mr Doig was no exception. It’s a five metre scrum, and Chris Downham plunges unsuccessfully for the line but a maul is formed and driven over the line. Kirk Chettleburgh the scorer 8v12. Chris Park slotted the conversion 10v12 Game on!! 10 minutes to win it.
Jack Lashley replaced Billy Coxon whose experience had been telling and Matty Kaye came on for Andrew Boardley.
It was important now to deal well with the restart and clear deep into the visitors half. However the clearance was taken on halfway and ran back with interest. Alnwick set up camp under the home posts. They were held up once, but finally touched down 10v17 after 34 minutes and with a simple kick 10v19.
One final effort to secure a losing bonus point. Jack Lashley won a penalty for holding on.
Chris Park’s kick from the left slid agonisingly past the near post. Still on the attack another penalty, this time from the right. Chris Park’s kick drifted wide left. Alnwick cleared deep, but Myles Harrop fielded the ball and went on a run, jinking his way in their 22. After several attempts to pick and go or maul the ball over the line the ball came back to Glen Weightman to drop for goal. Memories of Leigh away four years ago, sadly with Alnwick rushing to charge down, the attempt failed, and the referee blew for full time.
If anyone has read this far and is still awake here’s a few reflections for what they’re worth.
Alnwick deserved the victory, just.
The home team were totally committed defensively after a slow start. A vast improvement on Vale of Lune.
Lots of endeavour in attack but we struggled to get that decisive break through.
Nothing has changed at the bottom of the league. Kirkby Lonsdale did us a favour so it’s still three from four to go down. The team can escape the drop. It’s up to everyone at the club to pull together. Oh yes and in the same direction.
I’m signing off now as you know I was only deputising for Mark (unavailable due to family commitments). Doug Coates is sub on for next week at Hull (Mark is unavailable due to travel problems).
Your KENDAL MAN OF THE MATCH : Nick Carlton
No tries this week, but again Nick ran away with it getting over a third of the votes, and twice as manyas Kirk Chettleburgh, who was his closest follower.