Kirkby Lonsdale run out of time as fightback falls short against Saints (From The Westmorland Gazette)
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Kirkby Lonsdale run out of time as fightback falls short against Saints
Liverpool St Helens 27
Kirkby Lonsdale 17
North One West
TWO red cards for Liverpool St Helens almost gave Kirkby Lonsdale a path back into the game as the Cumbrians lost 27-17 in Lancashire.
In a high-tempo game it was Liverpool St Helens who got the first points on the board thanks to a Smith penalty from 35 metres out.
Looking to capitalise on this it was clear the Saints backs would be looking to run and that Kirkby’s tackling would be scrutinised.
It passed a big test when number seven Stuart Storey put in a superb tackle on winger Cunliffe when it looked certain that the home side would get their first try.
The home side were enjoying a good spell though and 15 minutes in they converted a try to extend their lead to 10-0.
Following spells with Leicester Lions and Albury Steamers in Australia, Kirkby scrum half Ben Walker was playing his first game since his junior days with the club and there was a fluency about the backs, although the next score also went to the home side when Clare got the ball down in the left corner to make it 15-0.
With 10 minutes left in the first period Kirkby were awarded a penalty and stand off Liam Cleary found an excellent touch down the left. From 10 metres out Kirkby over-threw the ball to the tail where it went into Saints hands. It looked as though the chance had gone but Kirkby won it back and moved it left to young winger Josh Maddock. Although he was tackled he stood up well to be driven over for a Kirkby try near the corner flag as Kirkby went in at half time 15-5 down.
In the second half Kirkby’s number five Craig Galbraith got a nasty facial injury from a boot and the claret was flowing as he was helped off.
This brought Simon Dowker into action and continued Kirkby pressure saw the Saints number one Grant-Butler sin binned as the home side defended desperately.
But against the run of play the home side got some decent ball and took the chance to run, attacking down the centre. Stand off Smith drew some of the Kirkby cover then threw a beautiful long flat pass to his left to put his left wing over, the conversion stretching their lead to 22-5.
Kirkby hit back with some excellent play but after two successive penalties Saints attacked from a lineout and despite a forward-looking pass they went over to lead 27-5.
But then the game started getting dirty. A scuffle between Saints’ number 14 and retaliation from Tosh Shepherd resulted in both sides being reduced to 14 men, while a punch to the head of Jack Akrigg saw another sending off for St Helens when Williams was dismissed.
With Kirkby a man over they began to peg the home side’s advantage back, Matt Hughes crashing over after a good assist from Akrigg to reduce Kirkby arrears to 27-10.
Steve Hodgson then crossed over by the left corner flag and Cleary kicked the conversion to close the gap to 27-17, but with the clock running down Kirkby were unable to add to their score and the Underley Park side finished the game without any bonus points.