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Rugby Union: Kendal 33-20 Wilmslow
DOUBLE try-scorer Mark Carruthers came to the fore in a powerful final quarter as Kendal saw off a resilient Wilmslow to claim a bonus point victory at Mint Bridge.
Garry Holmes and Dan Lowther also crossed the line for the home side, with both players scoring their ninth tries of the season.
Oli McCall and replacement Dave Wright replied for the visitors as Andrew Boardley and Laurence James traded blows with the boot.
Ian Voortman returned in place of Anthony Gage at centre as Lowther retained the fly-half position with Chris Park at full-back and Boardley on the wing.
The Black and Ambers opened the scoring on five minutes following a strong break from James Thompson, with the hosts awarded a penalty – successfully converted by Boardley.
Despite solid ball retention, Wilmslow could not breach a strong Kendal defence but drew level through a James penalty after the hosts were caught offside in midfield.
A further Boardley penalty restored the Mint Bridge side’s lead before McCall scored the first try of the afternoon on 25 minutes.
Reacting quickest to loose ball from a Kendal scrum, the fly-half hacked the ball over the try line and won the race to touch down, with James converting.
Shortly afterwards both sides were forced into substitutions, with try-scorer McCall and Kendal’s Duncan Green replaced, with Richard Harryman coming on and Matty Houghton moving to hooker.
After the Kendal scrum was twice re-set, Kendal scored their first try of the piece to secure a half-time lead, Holmes breaking away to score with Boardley adding two points.
Boardley missed the opportunity to extend the Kendal advantage while Wilmslow made a double substitution in a bid to sure up their scrum.
The home side remained on the attack and after the ball was moved to the left, Lowther powered over – his first try since the clash with Leigh a month earlier.
Boardley converted although the visitors maintained an interest in proceedings, James bringing his team back within a single score with a successful penalty.
However, Kendal retaliated and played some enterprising rugby in the final stages with skipper James Gough – initially stifled by the Wilmslow pack – increasingly influential.
Gough’s long pass was collected by Liam Hayton who made ground into the visitors’ twenty two, with Holmes setting up Carruthers on the left wing to score, as Boardley converted.
And the score was put beyond doubt when Gough combined with Ian Voortman before another long pass released Carruthers for his second try, securing a bonus point in the process.
Carruthers was later replaced by Nathan Woof – returning after a lengthy lay-off – as promising young second row Chris Evans replaced prop Glen Chesher.
With ten minutes remaining, a rare defensive lapse allowed Wilmslow replacement Wright to evade a number of tackles and reduce the arrears, with James adding a simple conversion.
With Wilmslow missing out on a bonus point, breaks from Gough and Reece Tomlinson pressurised the visiting defence, with Boardley rounding off the scoring with a late penalty.
Kendal: Glen Chesher, Duncan Green, Billy Coxon, Liam Hayton, Reece Tomlinson, Garry Holmes, Matty Houghton, James Thompson, James Gough, Dan Lowther, Mark Carruthers, Ian Voortman, Alistair Thompson, Andrew Boardley, Chris Park. Replacements: Richard Harryman, Nathan Woof, Chris Evans
Wilmslow: Simon Meek, Josh Whiteley, Jack Warmsley, Simon Irving, Michael Clifford, Adam Hewitt, Mike Black, Harrison Lewis, Ollie Willinson, Oli McCall, Sam Cutts, Richard Hughes, Benjamin Day, Laurence James, Toby Rowe. Replacements: Craig Cooper, Dave Wright
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