Wilmslow 2XV v Kendal 2XV
By Danny Airey
A frustrating and controversial defeat for Kendal 2XV away at Wilmslow.
On a day without a first team fixture, Kendal should have travelled with a full squad for the away fixture at Wilmslow, however due to last minute work commitments and an injury during the warm up, the team had to make two changes to the back row and start the game with just a squad of 16.
This proved to be influential in the result of the game against a Wilmslow squad boosted by several of their first team squad and Kendal having to play the last 15mins with just 14 players against a side who were able to freshen their team with multiple substitutions.
In truth, this shouldn’t have been the overriding reason for the loss as Kendal yet again didn’t manage to put on a full 80 minute performance.
A slow start by Kendal allowed Wilmslow into a 10-0 after 20 minutes from a penalty at the scrum and a well worked 5 metre line out move. Kendal hit back almost immediately through a penalty of their own converted by Tom Slater after a deliberate knock on in the back line. Similar errors to the previous week were still occurring as Kendal failed to exit their 22 from the restart and a penalty to Wilmslow was kicked to touch and again from the 5 metre line out the ball was recycled for a score under the posts; 17-3.
It was then Wilmslow’s turn to mess up their exit routine and allowing Kendal to kick a penalty to touch on the 5 metre line. The impressive Kendal line out, who managed to secure 100% of their own throw, provided quick ball for a flowing first phase move that saw Jordan Field
score out on the right wing; 17-8 which remained the half time score after some excellent try line defence from Kendal, the highlight being a crunching tackle from Harry Hampsey
to deny the Wilmslow winger in the corner.
Wilmslow started the second half the stronger and after a string of penalties, Captain Rob Wightman
was sin-binned on 45minutes. The home side capitalised on the extra man almost immediately with a try out wide: 22-8. After the sin-bin was reversed Kendal played their best rugby of the game, dominating possession and forcing Wilmslow to give up penalties, which resulted in their flanker being sin-binned on 62 mins. Unfortunately in the build up to this Hector Panday
suffered a nasty head clash and had to be replaced by Josh Cook
. Kendal managed to make the extra man count and after being camped on the Wilmslow try line for a few minutes Garry Holmes
managed to force his way over for a converted try on 64 minutes; 22-15. Kendal suffered another injury in the build up to this try and so had to finish the game with 14 men. This didn’t effect their momentum and shortly after Wilmslow’s sin-bin was reversed, Kendal drew level at 22-22 from an Alistair Thompson
try, who found a gap outside the ruck following good phase play to sprint away from outside the Wilmslow 22 before side-stepping the full back to score under the posts. With all the momentum, Kendal felt they could go on and win the contest in the final 5 minutes, however Wilmslow managed to grind their way into the Kendal half and with just a couple of minutes remaining move up to the Kendal 22 before an obvious knock on, which was originally signalled by the referee who then “forgot” to blow his whistle for the offence, and allowed Wilmslow to recycle and take advantage of the the extra man to score out wide for the winning score. A draw would have been a fair result, but a losing bonus point for Kendal still keeps them in the running for the restructured conference, should they be able to cut out the repeated errors and avoid more shocking refereeing decisions!
Man of the match went to Garry Holmes
, who provided a solid platform in the front row along with Dane Blenkharn
and debutant Mike Bradshaw
, as well as hitting all of his line out throws and getting involved all around the pitch.