KIRKBY Lonsdale RUFC moved to within one victory of a perfect season with a 45-12 win away at fourth-placed Wilmslow.
Seven tries in Cheshire have put Kirkby on the brink of a monumental achievement but they found themselves in the unusual position of being behind before ultimately romping to victory number 25 of a phenomenal campaign.
Wilmslow, having already gone close once, opened the scoring when they undid Kirkby with a flowing move to score and a conversion gave them an early 7-0 lead.
The necessary reply came from second row Matt Hughes who stormed through a couple of tackles to take play into home territory. His run was stopped but the ball was recycled and it came to him again and he ran in to score Kirkby’s first try. Centre Tom Pickthall, kicking in place of the injured Ryan Terry, added the conversion to level it at 7-7.
This settled things down for Kirkby and they extended their lead when skipper Ben Walker jinked through the defensive line and into space. Outside centre Harry Ralston was in support and when the pass came to him he had no difficulty rounding the full back to score the second try. Pickthall converting again to make it 14-7.
Wilmslow took advantage of having extra man when Walker was shown a yellow for a high tackle and the Kirkby defence was stretched keeping waves of attack out. But when they lost the ball almost on the Kirkby line
young winger Harry Huddleston evaded a couple of challenges to run almost the length of the pitch to go over for Kirkby's third try. Another successful kick gave the champions a 21-7 lead at the break.
After the interval Wilmslow hit right back with some very clever offloading and support running to score their second try by the left corner flag and although the conversion missed they were back in it at 21-12.
They continued to run at Kirkby but tried one offload too many and Walker, anticipating the pass, intercepted inside his own half and ran away to score the crucial bonus point fourth try under the sticks. Pickthall’s conversion made it 28-12.
Wilmslow still fancied it though and continued to make Kirkby play their best but again as one of their high speed offloading attacks broke down in the Kirkby half the ball came Walker's way. He put in a long kick behind the full back who, in turning, fumbled the ball backwards and before he could secure it Ross Towers stole it to score the fifth try. The conversion was wide but at 33-12 Kirkby had a hold on the game.
The advantage was stretched again to 38-12 when Towers got his second try of the afternoon.
Towers then continued his interesting afternoon when he was yellow carded for illegally stopping a Wilmslow move near the Kirkby line. Kirkby survived that attack and launched themselves again into the Wilmslow half where the home team could find no way of stopping a powerful side-stepping Barton run which ended with the seventh try by the posts. The conversion left the final score at 45-12.
History now beckons for Kirkby on the April 22 with the last game of the season at home to Blackburn.