Kirkby salvage bonus point after Widnes backs tear Cumbrians apart in first half

First published in Sport

Widnes 50

Kirkby Lonsdale 24

North One West

IN-FORM Widnes moved up the table in a tough game for Kirkby Lonsdale in Cheshire.

After early possession Widnes’ backs raided into Kirkby territory and the Cumbrians were penalised in defence.

It was kickable but Widnes ran it and a couple of phases later grounded the ball for their first try to go 5-0 up after 10 minutes.

The next scoring chance came to Kirkby through left wing Josh Maddock, who got over the line with ball in hand, but Widnes interfered enough to prevent the ref awarding a score.

Kirkby maintained play near the Widnes line and for the next 10 minutes did everything but score, the forwards crossing twice without achieving a clear touchdown, while attempts at spreading it wide failed and Widnes held out without conceding a point.

This proved to be a turning point in the game as Widnes proved threatening from anywhere on the pitch as the backs turned on the style.

With pacy and intuitive support running and fast passing, the home ran in four tries in the second quarter to take control of the game with a half-time scoreline of 31-0.

Widnes started the second half in similar fashion when their new full back Atkin took a pass just outside the Kirkby 22 and skinned the defence for a brilliant solo try, converted to stretch the lead to 38-0.

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With half an hour to play Kirkby’s prospects looked bleak after Widnes scored an unconverted try to lead 43-0.

However, a revival began when number seven Stu Storey scored a try after scrum pressure near the Widnes line to make it 43-5 and Ben Walker added another for 43-10, both tries unconverted.

Widnes hit back with a converted try to go 50-10 up, but with two tries on the board Kirkby had the chance to get a four try bonus point and they were giving it everything.

The longer the game went on the more Kirkby dominated the set scrum, disrupting much larger opponents and under this pressure Widnes began to lose discipline, picking up two yellow cards including 10 minutes in the sinbin for one of their props.

The last 10 minutes of the game was all Kirkby as wave after wave of pressure tested the home defence.

Kirkby grouped and drove for the line and a Widnes infringement led to a penalty try, the conversion reduced the deficit to 50-17.

With only five minutes left Widnes ran out of props so the game played out with uncontested scrums, which took Kirkby's best attacking option out of the equation, but through a sequence of ‘advantages’ they had the momentum.

The game was compressed into a small area near the Widnes left corner flag as Kirkby strove for the bonus point and as the game went into time added on scrum half Ben Walker finally saw a chink of light and was through for the fourth try.

The extras were added for a final score of 50-24.

Beltran Orrega Luca played his last game for Kirkby as, via Sedbergh School, he heads home to his native Chile.

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