Excellent Performance – despite result
By Mark Hodgkiss
Despite probably not being at their best, Blaydon looked like a team chasing immediate promotion, but were made to work hard for every point, and did not give away any of the three Kendal tries.
The win at Wirral had added hope in the battle for survival, but the situation was little changed with the team depending on results elsewhere, and needing to find vital league points of their own. This would be a totally different challenge, against a team who came down from the National League last season, and are now in pole position to get a chance of a quick return through the play-offs.
There were just two changes from last week’s team with Kris Bratton and Myles Harrop having picked up injuries, so Mark Carruthers and Dan Shorrock came in, with Steve Nelson taking Shorrock’s place on the bench.
Blaydon went off fast seeming keen to get the points wrapped up quickly, and the Kendal defence did well to hold out as their opponents launched waves of attacks, with excellent ball retention and quick offloads. On the rare occasion Kendal could get the ball, they posed a threat and when Chris Downham, managed to turn the ball over in his own twenty two, he launched an attack, then Dan Wilson took the move on making ground over halfway, only to be penalised when caught, as support was too slow to arrive.
The deadlock was finally broken after a quarter of an hour, in slightly controversial circumstances. Blaydon put a good kick in to space down the left wing, Dini Noyo got back to gather it, only for the referee to penalised Dan Wilson for obstruction. The penalty was put to touch and the lineout gathered for the forwards to drive to the line for a try. The touch judges disagree on the success of the conversion, but it was not awarded. 0v5
Kendal were on the attack from the kick off. Blaydon failed to cleanly gather the kick and Chris Evans took the ball and made good ground, only for his pass inside to Dan Shorrock to be intercepted.
Blaydon’s second try came from an excellent break at speed down the right by No.6 Harry Borthwick, and having done all the hard work, rather than try to beat the last line of defence, he passed inside to centre Dan Marshall in support for the try, which outside half Jamie Guy converted. 0v12
With five minutes of the half to play, the referee adjudged Jack Lashley to have been competing illegally for the ball, and yellow carded him. Shortly after at the next scrum, Alistair Thompson was sacrificed to allow Robbie Collinson to come on as hooker, and Garry Holmes to take Lashley’s role.
The final score of the half came three minutes into injury time, when centre Dan Marshall found a gap to go through for his second try, again converted by Jamie Guy. 0v19.
The referee played on and played an extra four minutes, and both teams had opportunities.
The second half started in the same fashion as the first, with Blaydon doing out fast, and they were rewarded with their fourth try after five minutes, when having resisted a number of attacks, Kendal ran out of tacklers for centre Alex Clark to go over, with Jamie Guy again converting. 0v26.
Kendal made a change with Chris Downham coming off to be replaced by Ben Dixon.
Kendal had their first sustained period in attack and put together some good moves, but could not break the defence. Then ten minutes into the half they were finally rewarded when Danny Barker came in at pace, and dancing through for the score, with Glenn Weightman converting 7v26
Kendal continued to attack, but the Blaydon team were up very (too) fast in defence, cutting off options.
After quarter of an hour Blaydon added a fifth try from a lineout in the Kendal half, with fast passing and good offloading in the tackle seeing them go over for another converted score. 7v33
Kendal made further changes with Steven Nelson and Robbie Collinson coming on for Matthew Charters and Garry Holmes.
Nelson had an immediate effect ripping the ball from the kick off from Blaydon hands, to set up an attack, which saw Wayne Ngubane go through, and whilst he was stopped near the line, he did well to get the ball away to Danny Barker who was in support, and powered over for his second try, with Glen Weightman converting 14v33.
Any hopes of a Kendal comeback were quickly extinguished as Blaydon were immediately back on the attack, and when a player was held up over the line, the resulting scrum was driven over for a converted try 14v40.
The next Blaydon try came from a quickly taken penalty which saw fullback Ryan Foreman weave through the defence for the try, which was again converted. 14v47
Danny Barker had been injured in the build up to the try, and was forced off, and as Kendal had no back substitutes, Alistair Thompson moved to his old position, with Matthew Charters returning in the pack.
Blaydon added two further tries, this time unconverted, both coming from powerful running and good passing out of the tackle. 14v57
Kendal were not finished, and mounted a number of attacks, which were being thwarted by Blaydon conceding penalties. Finally the referees patience ran out, and yellow carded Blaydon second row Jack Davidson.
With time running out Kendal stayed on the attack and finally Jack Lashley (?) got across for the third try, with Glen Weightman quickly adding a drop kick conversion, to try to find time for a fourth try. 21v57
Steve Nelson was forced off and Chris Downham returned for the final minutes where both teams had chances but could not add to their score.
Despite the scoreline this was an encouraging performance from the team who played with a much greater sense of commitment than has often been seen this season, but came up against an opposition who, whilst possibly making more errors than they would want, looked very good value for their second place in the league, playing in an attractive style. The bigger concern for the crucial games to come, is the mounting injury toll
Like at Wirral the Development team players who came in, who have been used to playing in winning teams, seemed to add extra enthusiasm, which rubbed off on those around them. Chris Evans played well in defence and attack, whilst Dan Wilson and Dan Shorrock, took their chances on the few occasions they came. After mis-fielding a kick in the first half, when given a second chance late on, Shorrock expertly plucked a crossfield Blaydon kick out of the air, then set up a counter attack, which unfortunately came to nothing.
A repeat performance with a different result is required next weekend at Wilmslow, where even a good win may not be enough, if Lymm can do what only Wirral outside the top four have managed, and win at Sandal.
Your KENDAL MAN OF THE MATCH : Danny Barker
Despite being forced off with an injury late in the second half, Danny topped the poll for a second week, this time with almost half the votes, after his two well taken tries.
Although some way back, next was one for the future, Chris Evans, who was often prominent in attack and defence.