Rochdale 2 v Kendal 2
By Danny Airey
A scrappy victory for Kendal
In a game where Kendal 2XV needed to call upon 3 debutants, play 2 backs in the forward pack and needed the long time retired coach to play 50 minutes, against a much improved Rochdale team, this was always going to be a difficult game. This proved to be the case and it took quite some time in an often scrappy game for Kendal to really get their game heads on.
Rochdale were the first on the scorecard through a well worked 5 metre line out allowing them to score in the corner, the conversion from the impressive fly half was good giving them an early 7-0 lead.
Kendal hit back a short while later following good work from Matty Kaye charging down a clearance kick, allowing Dan Shorrock to utilise his pace from the back row of the scrum to follow up and touch down in the corner; 5-7. Rochdale then extended their lead after 19mins when a promising Kendal attack was pulled back for a dubious forward pass, and from the resulting scrum, the Rochdale pack got a good shove on and managed to find a gap out wide on the right to force themselves over for a try which was again converted from a difficult angle; 14-5. Kendal now knew they were in a tough game and needed to call upon the much talked about second team spirit to get them back in the game, and they dominated possession for the next 10 minutes. On 30 minutes however, they suffered an injury to prop Ciaran Ward meaning he had to leave the field, and having travelled with no replacements, coach Danny Airey was needed to get involved at prop (thankfully with unopposed scrums!!).
Unfortunately, this is where the accuracy of the match report ends, as from that point on the author’s focus was on finding sufficient orifices to breathe out of, rather than who was scoring and when!!
Post match discussion confirmed that the scoring from that point on was as such:
From the Kendal scrum immediately following Ciaran’s departure, a good line from Nick Carlton saw him burst through the line to score under the posts, making an easy conversion for debutant Harry Hampsey to slot over; 14-12. This was the half time score.
Kendal turned around intent on using the weather conditions and favourably wind to pin Rochdale in their 22. This proved to be just the case as Kendal scored 3 unanswered tries in the first 20 minutes, the first for debutant Hector Panday, who had made strong runs throughout the game, who ran another good line from a first phase move off the scrum to score under the posts; 14-19. Roughly 10 minutes later following a string of penalties in the Rochdale 22, Danny Airey, obviously thinking he was 20 years younger took a quick tap penalty and set off for the try line, the route to which unsurprisingly was soon shut off, however he managed to offload to Josh Chaplow who used his much younger and stronger frame to dot down in the corner; 14-24. Kendal’s final try came on approx 60 minutes, following more pressure in the Rochdale 22, a ricocheted kick through from Jordan Johnson caused confusion in the Rochdale defence allowing Nick Carlton to chase through and fall on the loose ball for his second try; 14-31. A combination of a relaxing of attitude from the Kendal players and further injuries leaving several Kendal players just hanging as walking wounded and filling the gaps allowed Rochdale to close the gap to 26-31 with still 5 minutes left to play. Kendal again found the resolve to re-group and dominated the final 5 minutes of possession, and it was only a high tackle in the last minute of the game that prevented another Kendal try, the resulting penalty was knocked over to end the game, and provide a relieved Kendal team with a 26-34 bonus point victory.
All three of the debutants acquitted themselves well; this being the second time in recent weeks where there has been 2 debutants from Sedbergh school, and similarly to the first occasion they both got on the scoresheet. A try for Hector and 9 points from the boot of Harry, however; unlike the first occasion when two Sedbergh lads made their debut, there were no yellow cards issued this time around!!
Man of the match was Chris Wakeford, who made a seamless step up from wing to wing forward, making himself a proper nuisance at opposition ruck time, whilst getting in plenty of tackles and strong carries.