National Division Three North
SLOPPY defending once again cost Kendal the opportunity to get a much-needed victory as their winless run extended to two months.
The scoreline was harsh on the Mint Bridge outfit as the majority of the points came once Kendal heads had dropped.
The Black and Ambers huffed and puffed and enjoyed the lion’s share of possession, but they couldn’t convert that into an end product and with their defence shaky, Sandal’s class told in the second half.
But the first period was a different story.
Leo Mercer sold a nice dummy in the opening minutes and Kendal were unlucky to be thwarted by the Sandal defence.
Sam Whittingham appeared to be offside when he recovered the ball for Sandal and kicked away, and it was from that move gave Sandal possession and territory. With several men on the overlap as the ball worked its way among the backs from left to right, Dave Martin took the glory for himself to score after five minutes, and captain Greg Wood added the converstion to give Sandal a lucky 7-0 lead.
But Kendal answered back immediately, new signing Dini Nayo looking sensational whenever he had the ball, and Garry Holmes went on a good run in the eighth minute before he was tackled.
The home side were on level terms after 10 minutes when Nayo delayed his pass fantastically as he drew the tackle and popped the ball to Alistair Thompson, who ran onto the pass with gusto and scored just to the left of the posts, leaving Chris Park with an easy job of making the conversion.
Park had a glorious opportunity to give the Cumbrians the lead with what looked like a straightforward penalty after Jamie Herron earned himself 10 minutes in the sinbin with a bad tackle.
But he hit the post, and Mark Pease, who caused problems for Kendal all afternoon, rode through a few shoddy tackling attempts at the other end just minutes after the missed penalty to put the away side 12-7 up.
Kendal enjoyed plenty of pressure and possession in Sandal territory, but they were unable to add to their score, and Wood kicked a penalty a minute before half time to give Sandal a 15-7 lead at the break.
The second half was stop-start at the beginning as the tackles flew in with both sides trying to get a stranglehold on the match.
Wood made a 35-metre penalty to extend Sandal’s lead to 11 points but from the hour mark the floodgates opened.
Wood put in a tremendous, perfectly weighted cross field kick for winger James Ellar to run onto, and he was ably supported by Sean Maguire, who was given the ball when Ellar was tackled to get under the posts and give Wood the simplest of conversions to knock over.
Nayo still looked threatening for Kendal but the pacy winger couldn’t finish moves off and it was not long before Sandal added another try.
Max Whittingham caught everyone off guard at a Sandal scrum and Wood kicked the conversion to make it 32-7, and with five minutes left Wood passed to full back Tom Coad, who evaded a few tackles to score under the posts. The skipper added the extras to put the visitors 39-7 up.
And in injury time Sandal piled more misery on the Cumbrians when Ellar was rewarded for his support play by receiving a pass and touching down under the posts, Wood converting yet more points for the visitors with the last kick of the game.
With Birkenhead Park drawing away at Penrith, the defeat means Kendal slump to the bottom of National Division Three North.
Billy Coxon, Duncan Green, Richard Harryman, Liam Hayton (c), Reece Tomlinson, Dan White, James Thompson, Garry Holmes, Simon Davidson, Dan Rayson, Alistair Thompson, Dan Lowther, Leo Mercer, Dini Nayo, Chris Park.
Replacements: Ian Thompson, Dan Greenwood, Nathan Woof
Purcell, Herron, R Norbury, Thompson, Stewart, Maguire, Briscoe, S Whittingham, M Whittingham, Wood (c), Ellar, Martin, Pease, Orr, Coad.
Replacements: L Norbury, Overton, Gatus