Richmond Vikings 64
Kendal Warriors 57
AFTER two back to back victories Kendal travelled to Richmond on Saturday night looking to cement their second place standing in the league.
But this would be no easy game as Kendal had only narrowly defeated Richmond at the start of the season and the Vikings were out for revenge in front of their home crowd.
With Phil Mason and Keith McInnes still carrying injuries, the odds were stacked against the Warriors and they started in a lethargic manner in contrast to Kendal's previous two games, which had been built upon solid starts.
Richmond started the game displaying real intensity and purpose and the Warriors failed to take care of the ball under pressure, resulting in numerous turn overs and fast breaks for Richmond.
Warriors were also lacking any offensive threat in the first quarter other than a couple of successful jump shots by Phil Mason.
The second quarter started similarly to the first as Richmond increased their lead by as many as 23 points. At this point Kendal started to clear their heads and while not displaying the level of performance demonstrated in previous weeks, they started to play with greater determination and aggression.
Keith McInnes and Kevin Mason typified this as they set about letting the Richmond attack know there would be few more opportunities to attack without meeting a physical resistance.
Kendal also exercised more control on offence and this was demonstrated through a fine basket by Kon Arfanis after a clever give and go.
Nevertheless at the end of the half Kendal still trailed 35 - 17.
As the second half started Kevin Mason and Gareth France started to transfer the aggression displayed on defence into their offence as they drove to basket, drawing fouls from the Vikings players.
France was also starting to be successful from behind the three-point line as he hit a hat-trick in relatively quick succession. Unfortunately the same sharp shooting wasn't shown at the free throw line as Kendal players missed numerous opportunities to further eat into the Richmond lead.
Kendal continued to display good character despite their deficiency from the line and at one point pulled the Richmond lead back to eight points. Unfortunately, due to their efforts of trying to get back into the game, fatigue proved to be a limiting factor despite the efforts of Robin Littlewood, who was providing a welcome break for some of the tiring Kendal players.
As the game came to a close with Richmond winning 64 - 57 Kendal were left to reflect on a costly first quarter and inability to score 16 of their free throws.
G France 25 K Mason 15 P Mason 10 K McInnes 5 K Arfanis 2 R Littlewood 0