Relief the buzzword for Steve Whitehead after Kendal Hornets see off Altrincham Kersal (From The Westmorland Gazette)
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Relief the buzzword for Steve Whitehead after Kendal Hornets see off Altrincham Kersal
4:32pm Thursday 19th September 2013 in Sport
Director of Rugby Steve Whitehead admitted his relief as Kendal recovered from an opening day thrashing at the hands of Wirral to chalk up their first win of the season.
The black and ambers ran in eight tries during a bonus point victory over Altrincham Kersal to consign the memory of that heavy defeat to the pages of history.
But despite kick-starting their campaign and putting some points on the board, Whitehead believes there are still plenty of areas still requiring improvement.
“We have spent a lot of time trying to change and evolve the style of play and it was a huge comfort to get some confidence back in the squad,” he said.
“We’ve had some knocks along the way, particularly the result at Wirral so it was pleasing for the lads to win what was a tight game.
“There were plenty of positives to take from Saturday and we created a lot of very good tries, in fact it has been a long time since Kendal scored tries like that.
“But we conceded far too many points so there are still concerns and plenty to work on but I can’t knock the spirit of the team and the way they went out and played.”
Saturday also represented the former open-side flanker’s first victory in senior level rugby management, at a ground where he enjoyed an illustrious playing career.
As well as thankful for the support he received from ex-colleagues, the 43-year-old also reserved special praise for some of his current crop.
“I was grateful for the support from former players and although it was nail-biting it was one of the nicest days I’ve had at the club,” he added.
“We changed the game-plan somewhat from the week before and stuck to those plans and trusted each other.
“We dealt with some unavailability and the lads who came in, such as Matty Houghton, were fantastic.
“It’s good to have Garry Holmes back too who brings steel and leadership while Jordan Johnson bagged himself a couple of tries.
“But Jamie Psotlethwaite must take a lot of credit, that was one of the best performances from a winger I have seen in a long time.”
This weekend sees the Hornets travel to Merseyside – the scene of their opening day disappointment – where Birkenhead Park lie in wait.
The Upper Park outfit have an unblemished record so far this season and while an opportunity beckons for Kendal to win on the road for the first time since April 2011, Whitehead is cautious.
“This weekend will be a very difficult proposition as we have a lot of unavailability to deal and there will be a number of changes,” he said.
“But that provides a chance to see what some of the younger lads can do and on occasions they arrive with no preconceived fears or worries.
“Sometimes that can work in your favour, sometimes not, but it will be a test of our strength in depth.”
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