Try-scoring skipper Matt Hughes revels in derby day success and points to Kirkby Lonsdale's composure and desire

The Westmorland Gazette: Delight: Matt Hughes Delight: Matt Hughes

TRY-SCORING captain Matt Hughes highlighted the composure and desire of his side as primary factors in Kirkby Lonsdale completing a league double over derby rivals Kendal.

Following Tom Pickthall’s penalty, the second row forward touched down in the second-half to stretch Kirkby’s lead to an ultimately unassailable eight points.

And while Hughes accepts their initial game-plan had to be adapted, the 29-year-old believes the Kirkby pack managed to match their counterparts and nullify their opponents’ greatest strength.

“Our game-plan was to win our ball and give it to our backs as we thought our backline would be stronger than theirs,” he said.

“We knew their strength was the forward pack so we wanted to keep it away from them as much as possible but it didn’t quite work out that way.

“It ended up being a bit of an arm wrestle for 80 minutes but I was over the moon with how our lads coped, especially when we went down to 14 men. We were solid and defended well.

“The contact area was as physical as I have seen it in rucks and mauls this season but we stuck at it and our will to win is what got us there.

“Tom Pickthall said to me after the game that I seem to score at crucial times and that is definitely my most memorable try.”

As well as wrapping up bragging rights for the season, this victory also represents Kirkby’s sixth consecutive win on home soil – a result which moves them sixth in League North One West.

And while their success will live long in the memory and was duly celebrated, a further derby encounter looms large this weekend in the shape of fifth-placed Vale of Lune.

“It is an historic season to be in the same league as Kendal and to get two victories against them is the icing on the cake,” he added.

“The dressing room was a nice and lively place to be after the final whistle. Our club President John Townson put on a load of free beer which was in the changing room when we arrived back.

“We’ve been used to playing Vale for a number of years now but there remains a lot of pressure on us from supporters for this weekend’s game.

“We spoke about it straight after the final whistle on Saturday. Although the Kendal win was good we need to take the same attitude and approach into the Vale game.”
 

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