Blackburn 2 v Kendal 2
By Danny Airey
Excellent away win
With the head coach and director of rugby watching from the sidelines, Kendal’s second team put on their best performance of the season, and in doing so beat top of the table and previously unbeaten Blackburn.
Kendal signalled their intent from the off putting together a large number of phases through strong rucking and moving the contact area away from the large Blackburn pack, which all resulted in the first try after 3 minutes, scored by Dan Crabtree who shrugged off a couple of tacklers to score out wide, the conversion was missed.
In the reverse fixture earlier in the season, Blackburn dominated the set-piece so the first scrum was always going to be critical, not least because due to unavailabilities Kendal were fielding 3 hookers (who can prop a bit) in the front row; however the combination of Dane Blenkharn
, Robbie Collinson
and Garry Holmes
all put in immense performances, both at the set-piece and around the park, and with their strengths nullified, Blackburn were largely reliant on penalties to gain big yards. This was the case in the 15 minute, when after 2 penalties Blackburn put some quick phases together inside the Kendal 5 yard line before eventually forcing their way over just to the side of the posts which was converted for a 7-5 lead.
Kendal’s newest recruit, fly-half Nathan McCloy settled quickly into the team and was having a positive impact getting Kendal into good field positions, which resulted in an even bigger impact on 32 minutes when he stepped through the defensive line and outpaced the cover to score near the corner flag on the left. The difficult conversion fell just short giving Kendal a slender 10-7 lead approaching half time. This lead was increased a few minutes later giving them a half-time lead of 17-7. From a solid scrum just inside the Blackburn 22, Josh Chaplow
picked up at No8 and managed to evade the clutches of the first tackler before bouncing off the second tackler to score under the posts which was converted by Andrew Boardley
Kendal’s defence continued to frustrate Blackburn and if anything improved as the game went on, and strong defence in their own half after 46 minutes led to turn over ball and a quick ruck that followed on the half way line allowed Nathan McCloy to again step through the defence before arching his run to score again next to the corner flag, this time on the right wing. He attempted to convert his own try but it fell just short for a score of 22-7.
Kendal were unfortunate to have a Garry Holmes
’ try disallowed on 53 minutes when the referee got in the way of a Blackburn defender who would have struggled to prevent the try anyway.
They did manage to extend their lead on 66 minutes, with the try of the match; Kendal ran the ball from under the sticks taking it first out to the right wing making good ground to the half way line, the ball was quickly recycled and out to the opposite wing where it initially looked like Josh Chaplow
had blown the opportunity of putting Ben Dixon
away down the left wing, however the would be tackler fell away which allowed Chaplow to race clear and score to the left of the posts. The relatively easy conversion was missed by Nathan McCloy, the only negative from an impressive debut performance.
Blackburn hit back strongly and spent the final few minutes of the game camped on the Kendal try line, and it was fitting that the excellent defensive performance Kendal showed all game saw them through to the end, holding Blackburn players up over the line on a number of occasions.
An excellent away performance and very well deserved win.
Man of the Match: Dane Blenkharn