National Division Three
KENDAL started the New Year with the daunting prospect of taking on second in the table Harrogate, who after winning their first 10 games had won just once in their last four.
Chris Park, Leo Mercer and Liam Hayton returned to the starting line up, with Matty Houghton coming in as a late replacement for Rob Quarry.
The opening exchanges were even, although Harrogate looked the more dangerous with the ball in hand.
Harrogate outside half Callum Irvine opened the scoring with a penalty after 12 minutes when Kendal were caught offside in front of the posts to make it 3-0.
Kendal were again having problems in the line out, which deprived them of the chance to escape from defence.
Harrogate extended their lead after 18 minutes when scrum half Phil Wickham scored their first try, Irvine converting to make it 10-0.
The Yorkshire side started to dominate possession, but the Kendal defence held firm, with Dini Nayo and Jason Poleman prominent, while a number of the pack were struggling to compete with the pace of their opposite numbers.
Close to half time, Irvine extended Harrogate’s lead to 13-0 with a second penalty for offside.
Harrogate started the second half the better, and quickly added a second try when fullback Oli Denton took advantage of some poor tackling to score on the left. Irvine added a difficult conversion.
Harrogate spent most of the next 20 minutes attacking in the Kendal 22, but over-complicated moves and strong Kendal tackling led to a number of mistakes, which meant they were not able to add to their score.
With 20 minutes to go, Ian Voortman and Peter Redhead were brought on, and this seemed to inspire the team as they worked their way out of defence.
Harrogate were fortunate not to be reduced to 14 men when the referee missed a stamp on Reece Tomlinson in an off-the-ball confrontation.
The ill discipline continued and first centre Kyle Dench was sin binned for illegally stealing the ball, then Harrogate were reduced to 13 men when flanker Tim Heaton was sin binned for a high tackle.
The Kendal pack took advantage of the numerical advantage, and their new confidence helped them drive over for a try from captain Hayton. Dan Rayson was unable to convert as the score was reduced to 20-15.
Harrogate finished strongly and Denton was at the end of a cross-field passing move to score on the right wing for his second and his team’s third try. Irvine again put over a difficult conversion to make it 27-5 but this proved to be the last action of the game
Alistair Livesey, Duncan Green, Richard Harryman, Liam Hayton (c), Reece Tomlinson, Dan White (Ben Leacock), Garry Holmes, Matty Houghton (Peter Redhead), Simon Davidson, Dan Rayson, Dan Lowther (Ian Voortman), Jason Poleman, Dini Nayo, Leo Mercer, Chris Park
Metcalfe, Green, Browne, Harvey, Lewis, Smith, Heaton, Wilson, Wickham, Irvine, Bottomley, Wackett, Dench, Minikin, Denton
Referee: Dean Lythgoe