Too little too late for Kirkby Lonsdale as Wilmslow edge them out

First published in Sport The Westmorland Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

Wilmslow 23

Kirkby Lonsdale 17

North One West

KIRKBY Lonsdale timed their comeback too late as they succumbed to defeat at the hands of Wilmslow.

The home side struck first when left wing Sam Cutts got over in his corner after a tight series of exchanges at the beginning of the game.

Kirkby began to find some form and although they lost possession as they surged into the home 22, Wilmslow didn't clear well and when Kirkby ran it back, Ed Towers was on hand to score a good try mid way out on the right. Tom Pickthall was on target with the conversion as Kirkby led 7-5 midway through the half.

Wilmslow restored their lead with a penalty from their number 10 Bob MacCallum and on the stroke of half time, he was successful again when Kirkby were offside, kicking to make it 11-7 to the home side at half time in an even contest.

Kirkby kicked off the second half and Wilmslow dropped it, giving Kirkby good field position in home territory. They maintained several attack phases but they failed to score.

The home side went further ahead from close quarters when they rumbled over from a scrum despite Kirkby number six Richard Sayer’s best efforts to get under the ball. Wilmslow centre Ben Day was accredited with the try, MacCallum had an easy conversion and the home side were 18-7 to the good.

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A few minutes later Wilmslow repeated the dose, putting another penalty in the same corner but this time the throw was good and a catch and drive put the Wilmslow number six Rick Jones over for an unconverted try.

The scoreline was harsh on Kirkby but the tie wasn't over and as the game went into the final quarter Kirkby introduced the powerful Ollie Burrows to the back row as they went up a gear.

Desperate Wilmslow defence yielded a penalty around the home 22 which was kickable, but Wilmslow had taken their eyes off Kirkby scrum half Ben Walker, whose tap and go caught them napping as he jinked through to score by the posts. Pickthall added the extras to close the gap to 23-14.

Pickthall kept up his 100 per cent strike rate with another penalty to close the gap to 23-17 with five minutes to go and the away side finished much the stronger.

But the clock and stubborn resistance prevailed and although Wilmslow did hang on Kirkby had closed within bonus point range, which was the very least they deserved.

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