Birkenhead Park 29
National Division Three North
KENDAL travelled to basement club Birkenhead looking for their first away victory since April 2011 against a side without a win from their eight games this season.
With Glenn Chesher and Richard Harryman injured, Kendal had problems in their front row to the extent that coach Ian Thompson named himself on the substitutes bench.
Birkenhead started the stronger and tested the Kendal defence. An early penalty struck the post, but Kendal could not get away from defence, and full back Dave Hall converted a simple penalty to open the scoring for Birkenhead.
Kendal came straight back, and centre Dan Lowther was only stopped just short of the line after an excellent solo break. This set up position for Chris Park to tie the scores 3-3.
Shortly after Kendal were on the attack again, but the ball was lost on the left wing. Birkenhead kicked the ball into the Kendal 22 and when Chris Park, failed to find touch, Birkenhead moved the ball across field for the opening try from centre Greg Hughes.
Birkenhead continued to look the stronger team, and their next score came after a penalty set up a lineout. Second row Colin Campbell broke away from the resulting drive to score with Hall converting as Birkenhead opened up a 15-3 lead.
Within two minutes Kendal were back in the game.Alistair Thompson made a long break down the left hand touch line for a try which Chris Park converted to reduce Kendal’s arrears to five points.
Birkenhead re-established their lead when Kendal’s scrumaging problems saw them lose the ball from their own put in, and number eight Dave Ibbotson had an easy run to the line, evading several weak tackles. Hall added the extras to put Birkenhead 22-10 up.
Again Kendal came back again quickly with a strong break from flanker Peter Redhead and hooker Duncan Green backed him up to score. Park converted to reduce the gap to 22-17.
The lead was stretched further on the stroke of half time when centre Hughes made a break to score after a scrum in the Kendal 22. Hall converted again for a half time lead of 29-17.
A long rang penalty from Park after six minutes pulled the score back to 29-20 but after that Birkenhead Park kept Kendal penned in their own half, with Kendal’s defence resolute and Birkenhead making mistakes in the backs.
Kendal finished the game strongly and when awarded a difficult penalty with 10 minutes to go, Park’s kick came back off the crossbar.
An error from a Birkenhead player gave Kendal a scrum on the line, and the forwards tried to power their way over, but when this failed, the referee awarded a penalty near the posts, which Park put over to bring Kendal within a single score at 29-23.
The Birkenhead defence held firm for the rest of the game, and occasionally it looked as if they could take away Kendal’s bonus point.
When Reece Tomlinson found himself isolated and had to give away a penalty for failing to release the ball, Birkenhead put the ball dead to end the game, for their first win of the season, to the obvious delight of their supporters.
Dave Peacock, Duncan Green, Billy Coxon, Liam Hayton (c), Reece Tomlinson, Peter Redhead, Tom Voke, Garry Holmes, Simon Davidson, Andrew Boardley, Kale Hutchins, Ian Voortman, Dan Lowther, Alistair Thompson, Chris Park.
Replacements: Nathan Woof, James Thompson.
Cassidy, Brown, M Ibbotson, Campbell, Ashcroft, Cupples, Mabbutt, D Ibbotson, Walton, B Woof, Houliston, S Woof, Hughes, Rich, Hall.