Kendal travelled to Tyneside on the back of two good wins to open the New Year. Their hosts Percy Park had also had a good win last weekend, to end a losing streak which saw them in the final relegation place, four points and two places behind Kendal. So a key game for both teams.
The conditions could not have been much more different to those experienced at Mint Bridge last weekend, with a dry sunny day, and whilst there was a cool breeze, it was ideal conditions.
Percy Park immediately showed their intent from the kick off. Chris Evans collected the ball well, but was taken by the Park pack and driven into touch. Park won the lineout and set up a good attack, keeping the ball through multiple phases, and the Kendal defence had to be at the top of its game to keep them out.
Having weathered the early storm, against the run of play, Kendal had an early lead for the third week running. Dan Greenwood broke the Percy Park defence, and when the ball was moved, Glen Weightman somehow not only picked a pass off his toes, but then made ground. The ball was moved to Glen Chesher who went for the line, and just as he was been hunted down, got the ball away to Robbie Collinson, who had done well to be in support, for him to go over for an excellent try. Glen Weightman added the conversion 0v7 after five minutes.
Kendal were not allowed to build on this, and athletic Park pack continued to dominated. Powerful running saw a number of Kendal tackles broken, but Danny Barker, Steven Nelson and Mattie Houghton were often on hand with big tackles to stop further momentum. Dan Greenwood was having to do an excellent job tidying up ball at the back of the scrum, which was often been driven backwards.
After a quarter of an hour Kendal were caught offside in front of the posts and Park opted to the kick at goal, with outside half Ash Smith opening their scoring. 3v7
The Kendal cause was not helped when Chris Evans was forced off for treatment, to be replaced by Joe Lashley, but Evans was soon back on the pitch.
Park had the lead after twenty five minutes. After good Park build up work, it looked as if a solid tackle had stopped a move, but an excellent offload opened up the defence for an unconverted try. 8v7.
Despite being on the backfoot, Kendal continued to have chances and Glen Chesher made another run to the line, only to have the ball stolen from him.
On the half hour Park extended their lead with a try for centre Ali Blair after good build up work had finally opened up a gap in the Kendal defence. Ash Smith added the conversion 15v7.
Kendal seemed fortunate to turn at half time with only a narrow deficit, but they had had the advantage of the slope and wind in the first half.
It was a good start to the second half from Kendal, and after good build up work, Nick Carlton went for the line only to be stopped short. The forwards tried to work their way over, but made little progress, so the ball was moved wide, only for a Kendal pass to be intercepted, and instead of the gap narrowing it was extended. 22v7.
Kendal continued to compete and after ten minutes pulled a try back. Another Nick Carlton break was stopped short, and again the forwards could not get over, but this time the referee penalised the Percy Park defence. Lewis Kincart reacted quickly, taking the penalty and plunging over under the post for Glen Weightman to convert. 22v14.
Kendal were forced into a change with Kincart, who had picked up a cut, being replaced by Jordan Johnson. They also replaced Steven Nelson with Joe Lashley.
The next score was crucial, but the Park defence was up very quickly to cut off any Kendal attack, and when Kendal attacks were stopped, Park competed aggressively for the ball, making it difficult to get ball back quickly.
When the next score came it went to Park, with a prop opening up the Kendal defence with a powerful run which ended in another try for centre Ali Blair, with Ash Smith adding the conversion. 29v14.
Further injuries saw Lewis Kincart return for Jordan Johnson, and Steven Nelson for Robbie Collinson. Tom Moulton also came on for Glenn Chesher.
Park finished the game with a fifth try in injury time. 34v14.
Kendal did not play badly, and the final score in no way flatters Percy Park, who if they continue this way should have no relegation worries and continue to move up the table.
Kendal stay out of the bottom three as Durham’s game against Pockington was postponed until next month, due to the recent sudden death at just 27 of a former Pocklington player, who was in their team at Mint Bridge just two seasons ago.
Morley are the visitors to Mint Bridge in a fortnight, with a free weekend next week.
Your Kentdale KENDAL MAN OF THE MATCH : Greg Wrathall
Another one for Greg, just edging out Steven Nelson by a vote, and he was one ahead of try scorer Robbie Collinson, with four others a vote behind him.
|Mattie Boustead||15||Chris Park|
|Michael Grove||14||Rory Blakney-Edwards|
|Ali Blair||13||Mark Carruthers|
|Seb Reece (c)||12||Danny Barker|
|Chris McCabe||11 (22)||Nick Carlton|
|Ash Smith||10||Glen Weightman|
|Ruairi Meharg||9||Lewis Kincart|
|Marc Cook||1||Glenn Chesher|
|Jonny Dubois||2||Robbie Collinson|
|Michael Birkett||3||Logan Flett|
|Josh Hedley||4||Chris Evans|
|Eddie Saint||5||Greg Wrathall|
|Michael Longlands||6||Steven Nelson|
|Leo Caufield||7||Matty Houghton|
|Sean Williamson||8||Dan Greenwood|
|Adam Hay||sub (18)||Jordan Johnson|
|Andy Dunn||sub (16)||Tom Moulton|
|Ollie Stephenson||sub (17)||Joe Lashley|
|Ricky Handa||Ref||Northumberland Referees Society|
|Pen||Percy Park||10||Ash Smith||15||3||7|
|Try||Percy Park||13||Ali Blair||29||13||7|
|Con||Percy Park||10||Ash Smith||30||15||7|
|= = =||= = =||= = =||HALF TIME||40+3||15||7|
|Try||Percy Park||13||Ali Blair||45||20||7|
|Con||Percy Park||10||Ash Smith||46||22||7|
|Try||Percy Park||13||Ali Blair||67||27||14|
|Con||Percy Park||10||Ash Smith||68||29||14|
|Try||Percy Park||13||Ali Blair||83||34||14|
|= = =||= = =||= = =||FULL TIME||34||14|