Kendal take advantage of weakened Wirral
By Charlotte Clynch
WIRRAL 10 KENDAL 48
Following the trip to Keighley for the Ilkley game and the adventurous trip home on the coach via Saddleworth Moor in a snowstorm there were again a number of changes for the home game against Kendal. The team was not decided until Saturday morning following fitness tests on a couple of players.Ryan Higginson
returned to the front row in place of STEVE PENDERGAST, MATT DALTON back into the second row in place of PAUL LEWIS (work commitment). Jack Yarker
moved back to prop and STUART GRATTAN resumed at hooker. The subs were Joe Paton
, Mark Williams
and Adam Sheldon
Wirral played towards the road and against the wind in the first half and were soon on the attack led by Jack Yarker
picking up a loose ball and making good metres into the Kendal 20m area. Wirral were pressing the line and the away team infringed, a quickly taken penalty and pass to James Reeve
enabled him to cross for the try some 5m from the corner flag, the conversion just failed. 5-0 (5 minutes). Kendal had the opportunity to reduce the arrears from 34m but the kick went wide.
From the kick off Kendal were on the attack and another penalty enabled them to advance deep into the Wirral 20m area from where they mauled their way over under the posts with Chris Downham touching down and Glen Weightman converting. 5-7 (7 minutes). Six minutes later Kendal extended their lead with a penalty from just inside Wirral’s half when a Kendal player was high tackled, although he ducked into the tackle. On 16 minutes another Kendal attack resulted in the second try when a delicate kick through was collected by Kris Bratton on the bounce and his impetus took him clear of the Wirral defence to score under the posts and again converted. Out of nowhere, Wirral were 5-17 down.
On 20 minutes, Rob Pearl
was injured and replaced by Adam Sheldon
. According to CHRIS MALKIN the injury is quite serious with extended damage to his hamstring and unlikely to play again this season. Playing with a penalty advantage, Weightman attempted to drop a goal but this was missed but scored from the resultant penalty. 5-20. A further kick over the Wirral defence by the Kendal centre was secured by Danny Phillips
but resulted in a 5 metre scrum; the speedy left winger came into the line and was put through to score only for the try to be disallowed for crossing. Wirral had to make a further substitution when James Reeve
was injured and was replaced by prop, Joe Paton
thus reducing Wirral’s replacement options and without 2 of the official back row creating problems at the breakdown - 30 minutes. The Kendal third try was scored when the centre, Mike Fearns put in a delicate kick over the Wirral back line and collected the ball himself on the bounce to outstrip the remaining defence and score under the posts and duly converted: 5-27- 30 minutes.
Wirral were always looking to break through the Kendal defence, they managed to break one tackle only for the next player to stop the break developing. Near the end of the first half a break developed which allowed Mark Gidman
to make inroads into the Kendal 20m area, the forwards were thwarted by the Kendal pack, the ball came out right, a long pass to DAN HARVEY almost brought a try but was tackled short and HAYDN LONG was on hand to score his first try for the first team, the try was not converted. 10-27 at half time.
The first 20 minutes of the second half was all Wirral as they kept Kendal in their half. A line out 5m out followed by a characteristic maul was brought down deliberately by Kendal inches from the line which resulted in the Kendal second row, Ross McKay being sin binned but complaining that the referee bad got the wrong person. However no penalty try awarded and from the next scrum the ball was lost. Back came Wirral and made repeated thrusts at the Kendal line and crossed only for the referee to deem as being held up over the line (3rd time in last two weeks). From the scrum which Wirral won, the ball went wide only for the ball to be collected by Kendal when a try looked the obvious score.
Kendal worked their way back into the game and progressed downfield and from a quick penalty, Glen Weightman scored their 4th try (bonus point try) and converted by Chris Park. By my timing the second half kicked off at 3.47 and after 40 minutes had elapsed, play continued!! This gave Kendal the opportunity to run in two more converted tries through Glen Weightman and Mike Fearns both converted by Park. Fortunately the 50 points were not conceded when a dropped pass with a 3 to 1 overlap was on the cards.
Kendal deserved their victory but the margin somewhat flattered them given the opportunities which Wirral missed. Wirral for their part need to control the ball more and ensure passes go to hand rather than every opportunity being taken to try and off load.
Next week Wirral are at home again for a rearranged match against Hull who are chasing the 2nd place play- off position.