Wirral Just Hold Out Against Kirkby Lonsdale
By Andrew Broadbent
The result was in doubt until the final whistle in a game between two evenly matched sides.
This was a highly absorbing game with the result in doubt until literally the final kick of the match.
For the home game against KL who were directly above Wirral in the league, Wirral had to make a couple of changes from that selected for Kendal and it seemed yesterday that we almost had a first team all injured watching the game on the touchline. With JIMMY ANNETTS injured (out for several weeks), Chris Crowley
was moved from scrum half to fly half (although he was also nursing a groin injury) thus allowing Joe Murray
to return to the side following a foot injury. MATT DALTON returned to the second row to partner Ryan Stead
with JAMES REEVES returning to the back row. JACK YARKER suffered an injury last week so stood down this week allowing DAN LIGHT to start with Chris Hughes
coming onto the subs bench, the other subs were Mike Warren
and Paul Lewis
. Wirral played towards the clubhouse in the first half.
The opening minutes saw play in mid field with both sides testing each other’s defence with Wirral having a slight advantage until the KL powerful centre, Scott Armstrong broke through several tackles to run in from 60m to score and conversion came from Ryan Terry. 0-7 (8 minutes). There was much open play and the first penalty was not awarded to either side until the 15th minute. Territorially Wirral now had the benefit and before their first try in the 19th minute where they controlled the ball for many phases - something they had not been doing in recent matches- and gradually progressed deep into the KL 20m area and from 15m out the ball was spun right with Joe Murray
, to DAN HARVEY and onto Chris Crowley
who crossed over close to the corner flag, the try was not converted with the attempt hitting the upright, 5-7 (19 minutes).
From the kick off KL did not make the 10m, which gave Wirral the initiative. A grubber kick to touch by Chris Crowley
enabled Wirral to disrupt the KL line out and from possession on the right, a cross kick to the left by DAN HARVEY found acres of space enabling BEN BROOKES to collect the ball 5m from the line and cross in the left hand corner, the conversion was made from the touchline by DAN HARVEY, 12-7 (22 minutes). From the kick off KL again failed to make the 10m, giving Wirral possession. From a scrum, 50m out, Joe Murray
put in a grubber kick which hit one of the KL players and three players went for the ball but it was DAN HARVEY who burst through to collect and although there were players around ran in from 35m to score close to the posts. It was his 1000th point for the club (from records I have been able to access), he obviously converted his own try, 19-7 (24 minutes). Wirral were now in the ascendancy and a further attack looked promising with 2 on 1 overlap but the pass some 50m out was intercepted by the KL winger, Harry Huddleston who had an unopposed run in to score near the posts and this was converted by Ryan Terry. Wirral then gave away their first penalty after some 32minutes and although 43m out but central, Ryan Terry duly converted to reduce the deficit to 19-17 (33 minutes). Chris Hughes
came on for DAN LIGHT after 38 minutes. The score at half time was 19-17.
Early in the second half after a number of phases taking play downfield KL were penalised and DAN HARVEY straight onto the posts converted from 40m. 22-17 (42 minutes). Four minutes later a break by DAN HARVEY was halted 10m from the KL line, the ball was quickly played and Chris Speed
was on hand to crash over in the corner, the conversion was missed. 27-17.
This score seemed to spur on KL and put pressure on Wirral, which the home team were able to absorb and clear downfield, however KL were looking to counter attack wherever possible and a good run down the right wing was stopped giving KL a further spell in the Wirral 20m area. After 65 mins Paul Lewis
came on for Ryan Stead
. The pressure from KL finally told when from close to the WIRRAL line, Ryan Terry was awarded the try but fortunately from a Wirral perspective the conversion was missed, which meant KL needed a try to draw and a conversion for a win, thus penalties were of no significance. 27-22 (63 minutes). After 68 minutes, Sam Broadbent
came off injured to be replaced by Mr. Utility, Mike Warren
and DAN LIGHT back on for Chris Hughes
With KL now pressing, penalty kicks for goal were turned down as KL looked for that elusive try and there was much pressure on the Wirral 20m area. Wirral finally clear when Tom Parry
steals a loose line out ball and make essential metres and then finally a long clearance is made downfield. The final 5 minutes saw the Wirral line absorb much pressure as they held out against numerous phases of play. The final minute saw KL under the Wirral posts but no headway being made, an infringement gives Wirral the put in at the scrum, with 30 seconds remaining the back row make 2 or 3 precious metres before the ball is kicked over the dead ball line and the referee blows for time.
The cliché” defence wins matches” could not have been more truer today and to man the team somehow managed to repel the KL thrusts. Wirral still remain 9th, one point behind KL who are currently 7th.
Next week the first team are away at Lancaster to play Vale of Lune, please check the notice board for the coach departure time if you should wish to come and support.