Kirkby Lonsdale skipper eyes fortress Underley Park after last-gasp heartbreak against Altrincham Kersal (From The Westmorland Gazette)
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Kirkby Lonsdale skipper eyes fortress Underley Park after last-gasp heartbreak against Altrincham Kersal
UPBEAT Kirkby Lonsdale skipper Matt Hughes is refusing to be downcast despite his side still awaiting their first League North One West win of the new season.
The Rams were seconds away from leaving Cheshire with a hard-fought draw only for Altrincham Kersal to snatch a last-gasp victory with a late try.
And Hughes, who returned to the fold after missing the previous weekend’s defeat at home to Wirral, believes small margins are costing Kirkby dear at the minute.
“We had a bad opening quarter of an hour where Altrincham scored most of their points, we didn’t really get off the bus,” he said.
“We improved in the second-half, made up a 17-point half-time deficit and brought the scores level with a couple of minutes to go but they turned us over in midfield to win it.
“It’s just little mistakes. We were punished against Wirral and punished again on Saturday, both occasions costing us victories.
“But our defence has been good so far, we just let ourselves down in the first-half on Saturday, and we have started scoring some points which is what we were missing in the first two games.
“We’re competing but things just aren’t going our way at the minute.”
The fixture list has pitched Kirkby against a number of the division’s leading lights so far, with another difficult match in prospect this Saturday against high-flying Birkenhead Park.
But the Rams will have a new weapon in their armoury with Australian centre Sam Latu joining the ranks, someone Hughes believes can make an impact.
“Everyone has stepped up from last season and got stuck in after a good pre-season,” he added.
“Tom Pikthall has been playing well at outside centre and a few new lads have come into the side and done well.
“Sam has arrived from Australia this week so we’re hoping to get him registered and in the side to face Birkenhead, but if not it will be next week when he makes his debut.
“He has played at a good standard over in Australia and looks a big, useful lad from what we’ve seen in training.”
And the 29-year-old believes home advantage could prove crucial on Saturday, with the second row keen to turn Underley Park into a fortress as the campaign progresses.
“There are a lot of clubs that don’t like coming to Kirkby because we’re a different side at home,” he said.
“We’ve worked hard this week and we’re ready to go again.”
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