Kirkby Lonsdale solidify mid-table spot with close victory over Altrincham Kersal

First published in Sport

Kirkby Lonsdale 15

Altrincham Kersal 13

North One West

KIRKBY Lonsdale pulled further clear of the relegation zone with a hard-fought and narrow success at home to Altrincham Kersal.

The first decisive moment came when Kirkby halted a Kersal move on the home 22. Kirkby put in a grubber kick behind the Kersal line but first to the ball was lightening quick Kersal left wing Tony O'Connor.

During the second phase for Altrincham right wing Chris Stewart scored near the right corner flag and stand off James Nettleton slotted a penalty home before half time to give the visitors an 8-0 lead.

Early in the second half prop Tim Groves burst out of a group of players with ball in hand and made the 30 metres to get Kirkby within three points of Kersal despite a clutch of bodies trying to prevent him going over the line.

The Underley Park side struck again towards the end of the third quarter. Just inside the Kersal half of the field number 13 Jack Akrigg cut infield and charged at the visitors to draw in defenders. His centre partner Tom Pickthall was running a clever support line on the outside where he took a perfectly timed pass which split the Kersal defence and to the delight of the home crowd he scored by the posts, with stand off Liam Cleary converting to put the home side ahead 12-8.

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But Kirkby lost the lead again with 20 minutes to go when the visitors scored wide on the left to lead 13-12.

Kirkby regrouped and drove play into Kersal territory where the visitors were penalised for handling in a ruck.

From 35 metres out and just left of centre in slippery conditions, Liam Cleary struck the ball well to give Kirkby a 15-13 lead with five minutes left.

Kirkby had a Ben Walker try controversially disallowed but it didn’t prove to affect the final outcome, and the Cumbrians now sit in 11th place, 16 points ahead of the team directly below them in North One West - Anselmians.

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