Rochdale 2 v Kendal 2
By Danny Airey
Great away performance
The first game of the new season; an away trip to Rochdale, looked on the face of it to be a difficult start to the season, not helped by several player unavailabilities meaning the team travelled with a bare minimum of 15 players. This however; proved to be anything but the case as a patched together team united superbly on the pitch with impressive performances from all players resulting in a 75-8 victory.
The young development team that won promotion last year have been disrupted by other commitments for the early part of the season, and so were looking at having to travel without a recognised front row and therefore only able to compete for a maximum two points. Up stepped Kendal’s newly elected President, Arthur Perie
- willing to forego his first official league game as president in favour of shoring up one corner of the scrum for the development team. In fact he went a little further than just shoring up the scrum; popping up in advanced positions to show good hands to assist in a try or two. The average age of the development team was further increased by James Mackereth
’s inclusion, also stepping up to cover for the lack of numbers, as well as the returning Andrew Boardley
and Tom Whitehead
, both looking to restart previous successful stints at the club.
The game plan was devised to take advantage of a young and speedy back row by moving the breakdown point out wide and recycle the ball quickly.
This proved a successful tactic throughout the game and after taking an early 3-0 lead through a Boardley penalty, the first try came on 6mins when three quick phases of play allowed fly half and captain Mark Carruthers
to exploit a gap and put Jake Chaplow
away for a try on the left wing. The second try came just four mins later, when after good strong driving from the pack Jack Lashley
popped up to force his way over for a try that was converted by Boardley. A penalty in front of the sticks for Rochdale brought the score back to 3-15, before good interplay between Perie and Mackereth put Carruthers through for a converted try on 24mins. A good bust up the middle of the park by Lashley set up a good position for Carruthers to pull the strings in midfield to set new boy Kirk Chettleburgh
through for a debut try on 31mins. Shortly afterwards, following good interplay from the restart a good box kick from Boardley was recovered by the Kendal pack and allowed Carruthers to force his way over for his second try. The final try of the first half came on the stroke of half time, good sustained pressure and excellent rucking from Shaun Tipping and Joe Cook
provided quick ball to allow Ben Dixon
to stand his man up and touch down in the corner. Half time score 46-3.
The second half continued in much the same way as the first with Kendal looking to build the phases out wide and take advantage of quick ruck ball to exploit gaps in a tiring defence. The first try of the second half came on 43mins when Jack Gater
found space around a ruck and following an outrageous dummy that created more space put Shaun Tipping away for a sprint to the line. An even more outrageous piece of skill brought about the next try as prop Jack Lashley
took a quick tap penalty under his own sticks before commencing a 60-70 yard dash down the left wing and the recycled ball eventually ended with Dixon crossing for his second try. Almost immediately from the restart, good work again from the forwards disrupting the Rochdale scrum allowed Carruthers to find a gap to score his hat-trick try on 53mins converted by Boardley. Four mins later the second hat-trick of the game was scored when Ben Dixon
got on the end of a strong run by Chettleburgh to score on the right, again converted by Boardley. A few injuries to both teams brought about a period of calm, with Kendal going down to 14 men when Tom Whitehead
who had a strong game both in the scrum and around the park went off injured. Shortly afterwards Rochdale scored their only try after good work from a quick tap penalty. Kendal finished the stronger however with two tries in the final five minutes for debutant Cameron Hetherington
who had carried strongly and tackled hard all game. The first try followed great work at the ruck by Anthony Gage allowing quick ball for Hetherington to charge onto brushing off a few tackles to go over under the posts where Boardley knocked over his 6th conversion. The final try came immediately from the restart, following a great break from Jordan Johnson who passed to Hetherington to score out on the right. Final score 75-8.