NOT for the first time this season, Kendal’s Director of Rugby Steve Whitehead was forced to be magnanimous in defeat after his side’s derby day loss to Kirkby Lonsdale.

Saturday’s reverse not only meant the Underley Park side claimed a league double over the Black and Ambers, it also brought an end to Kendal’s four-game winning streak.

And Whitehead suggests his charges may have let the occasion rule their thinking after Kendal adopted a different game-plan to that employed in recent matches.

“The great thing about rugby is that everything is a leveller and the side that makes the right decisions and tries the hardest can prevail regardless of anything else,” he said.

“Kirkby deserved to win on Saturday as they did the first game – they’re a good side in their own right and are led very well at nine and ten with the rest buying into it.

“But we aided that in my opinion, we played a style of game we haven’t been playing and not the one we said we would play.

“We seemed eager to get at them and were very direct and narrow, which is not how we have been playing when we’ve created tries and scores through pressure.

“But we stuck at it and I’m very proud of that as well as our tenacity but we just didn’t implement the plan properly.

“Kirkby gave everything and deserved it. We have no divine right to win and nobody thinks that.”

While not taking anything away from the opposition, Whitehead did express concerns about the standard of refereeing which he believes denied Kendal the opportunity to build pressure.

“I was a bit disappointed with the refereeing on Saturday,” he added.

“Kirkby came out to disrupt our strengths which you would expect them to do.

“But I don’t think he was strong enough in the scrum or maul although I don’t for one minute take anything away from Kirkby’s achievement and that’s not the reason for our loss.”

And with Kendal facing second-bottom Leigh at Mint Bridge this weekend, Whitehead insists the Black and Ambers have not been unduly disheartened by their derby defeat.

“We’re obviously disappointed to lose the momentum we had but nothing has changed, it hasn’t buckled us or knocked our confidence at all,” he said.

“We’re an experienced team now and we’re in a lot better place than we were and happy with how we’re progressing.”