Kirkby Lonsdale Win
By Andrew Broadbent
Despite loss this was an improved performance by a young Wirral side.
Despite the injuries in recent weeks, Wirral fielded their youngest team of the season and when viewed against recent week’s performances this was a creditable performance by the team where they held a slender lead on three occasions.
The majority of the changes were in the backs with Chris Crowley
moving to scrum half and James Annetts
returning to fly half and there was a new centre partnership of Tom Parry
and Mark Williams
. James Adams
and JOSH CONNOLLY played at left wing and full back respectively. The back row was MATT DALTON and JAMES REEVES returning after injury and illness with Paul Lewis
continuing at prop. The subs were Mark Gidman
, Adam Don
and new to the first team squad, JOE TOTTY.
The first quarter of the game saw Wirral having the territorial advantage with lengthy kicks downfield from James Annetts
keeping pressure on KL. Pressure was put on the KL line but they managed to keep Wirral out until penalty in front of the posts gave James Annetts
and easy three points after 8 minutes. At this stage Wirral had made a number of breaks which unfortunately did not lead to scores when perhaps the wrong options were taken. A break down the right should have led to a try but the KL centre, Tom Pickthall deliberately knocked the ball down, was yellow carded but saved his side 7 points.
A further play saw James Annetts
kick over the KL defence and was taken off the ball by a KL defender and no penalty ensued even with the referee running alongside the play. The next play saw Chris Crowley
make a break with the full back making a last ditch tackle to prevent a score. Gradually KL with a greater share of possession came back into the game and made progress up the field through their strong running centres and in the 26th minute fly half, Mike Fearon broke through the Wirral defence from 10m out to score near the posts, but the conversion was missed, 5-3 (26 mins).
On 32 mins Wirral regained the lead with a further penalty from James Annetts
after again exerting pressure on the KL line but the home defence held firm once again. There was no more scoring before half time although KL did have the opportunity following a quickly taken penalty only for the potential scoring pass being dropped close to the line. Given the opportunities Wirral should have been further ahead at the break.
At the start of the second half, KL were immediately on the attack in the Wirral 20m area and a switch of play to the left allowed wing forward Stu Storey to score in the corner, the try was not converted but gave KL the lead again at 10-6 after 41 mins. Wirral kicked straight to touch from the kick off giving KL the opportunity to put the ball deep into the Wirral 20m area with the away team then scrambling the ball dead and Wirral were able to keep the home side out on this occasion. This was followed by a good break from Matt Loon
on to MARK PHILLIPS whose kick ahead was unfortunately kicked direct to a KL player.
In open play it was apparent that KL were quicker at making ground downfield whilst Wirral were building up pressure more slowly and worked the ball up to the KL line where numerous thrusts were repelled until the ball was spread left, Annetts to Williams to Connolly who put James Adams
, to score his first try for the first team in the corner, the conversion was missed but Wirral had retaken the lead 10-11 (56 minutes). Adam Don
came on for Paul Lewis
. Wirral were still looking to attack and a further kick downfield allowed the KL centre, Scott Armstrong to make much headway into the Wirral 20m area with the subsequent attack repelled. 67 mins, Mark Gidman
came on for James Adams
On 71 minutes, KL took the lead with a Mike Fearon penalty, 13-11. KL returned to Wirral’s half and good play between scrum half and centre took play close to the Wirral line, the ball again passed to the left and Scott Armstrong crossed for a try which was converted, 20-11 (72 mins). JOE TOTTY came on for Ryan Stead
. 74 mins Wirral fail with penalty 38 minutes out. Another penalty by Wirral took play down to 10m out and from the line out there was a fracas, with the referee blowing immediately and sending off the KL hooker, Dan Armistead for punching, from this position Wirral took the penalty through, James Annetts
to reduce the deficit to 20-14. However with the last play of the game, KL denied Wirral a losing bonus point with a penalty from Mike Fearon, to leave the score 23-14.
This was an improved performance by Wirral, who if they had taken their chances could have come away with a notable victory given the team they played.
Next Saturday is the last home game of the season against Vale of Lune kick off 3.00pm.