Rugby Union: Kirkby Lonsdale 31-3 Altrincham Kersal

The Westmorland Gazette: Rugby Union: Kirkby Lonsdale 31-3 Altrincham Kersal Rugby Union: Kirkby Lonsdale 31-3 Altrincham Kersal

FLY-HALF Dave Barton continued his productive season as Kirkby Lonsdale recorded a bonus point victory to maintain their impressive home form and strengthen their mid-table position.

Following his tries at Wirral the week before, Barton touched down twice as Ben Walker and Tim Groves also crossed the line with Tom Pickthall kicking a further 11 points.

With injury denying Matt Hughes a starting berth, Jack Akrigg skippered the side as Jack Dickinson, Martyn Knapton, Alan Robinson and Simon Dowker were all recalled.

Kirkby missed two penalties as the Underley Park outfit dominated the opening stages, with the early pressure resulting in a yellow card for Altrincham number eight Rob Heseltine.

The home side continued to attack and took the lead midway through the first-half, a trademark tap and go saw scrum-half Walker pass the posts, with Pickthall converting.

Kersal missed a penalty before Barton doubled the hosts’ advantage, breaching the visitors’ defence after taking a pass inside the twenty two, as Pickthall added a further two points.

A long-range penalty reduced the Altrincham arrears ahead of the break although Pickthall replied with a successful kick of his own five minutes after the re-start.

After a strong David Cooper-Dunne run and powerful drive from the Kirkby pack, prop Groves was the quickest to react, diving on the loose ball to score with Pickthall again converting.

For all intents and purposes the home side had the game sewn up although Kirkby went in search of a fourth try and bonus point victory.

Dickinson enjoyed a successful comeback but once again it was Barton who delivered, a quick tap and go led to his second try of the afternoon by the posts, as Pickthall added another two points.

The Greater Manchester side rallied in the latter stages and despite a red card enjoyed pockets of possession – Kirkby hooker Dan Armistead instrumental in denying a consolation try.

A fourth successive victory at Underley Park sees Kirkby rise to eighth in the league standings, six points behind fourth-placed Vale of Lune with eight teams separated by only nine points.

This game also saw the continued exposure of emerging talent such as Jonny Mason, Lewis Horner, Ryan Terry and Callum Sheldon – a feature of Kirkby’s season to date.

Kirkby Lonsdale: Tim Groves, Dan Armistead, Johnas Thorsen, Simon Dowker, Jonny Mason, David Cooper-Dunne, Stuart Storey, Andy Robinson, Ben Walker, Martyn Knapton, Tom Picthall, Jack Akrigg (c), Jack Dickinson, Tom Slater. Replacements: James Law, Phil Lequeux, Lewis Horner

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