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Kirkby survive comeback to claim first win of season
Kirkby Lonsdale 28
North One West
LIAM Cleary pulled the ropes in a virtuoso first half performance as Kirkby Lonsdale fought off a Fleetwood comeback for their first win of the season.
The first points came when Fleetwood didn't release at the tackle and Cleary kicked the points to make it 3-0.
From the restart Kirkby ran the ball back and enjoyed a period of pressure during which the Fleetwood number six Thompson left the field with injury.
The first try came from Fleetwood, who ran from inside their own half and created an overlap down the left to score near the corner flag.
They missed the conversion but edged ahead 5-3 only to concede the lead again when another tackle infringment gave Cleary a successful penalty to make it 6-5 to Kirkby.
The Cumbrians extended their lead with a trademark Josh Pewsey try who got the ball in his own 22 and burned off the cover to score in the corner to increase the advantage to 13-5.
Then they scored again with a sublime piece of vision and skill from Cleary, attacking with ball in hand down the left. Aware of events around him, he noticed the Fleetwood left winger had drifted in and Kirkby's right wing Jack Dickinson had space into which he received a perfectly judged cross field kick to gather and score near the posts.
An all out assault by Fleetwood in the second half was anticipated but it was Kirkby who struck first with another Cleary penalty to extend the lead to 23-5.
Josh Pewsey cut in from his wing at pace and met a posse of Fleetwood tacklers which meant he broke his collarbone and sustained ligament damage that will keep him out for at least 12 weeks.
This brought Richard Green into the fray and Kirkby kept up the pressure. When Ed Towers stormed in for Kirkby's third try to take the score to 28-5 with around 30 minutes to play it looked like a winning margin.
But the efforts Kirkby had put in seemed to take their toll and gaps appeared in the defence as Fleetwood began to find some space.
From a succession of scrums near the Kirkby line they finally worked the ball over for a try to reduce their arrears to 28-10.
Kirkby took play back into Fleetwood territory but they lost control of the ball and the home side stormed out of defence to score another try under the posts for a seven pointer.
Kirkby captain Matt Hughes was doing his best to rally his young side but despite their best efforts they couldn't prevent Fleetwood scoring another seven-pointer to make it 28-24.
Fleetwood were rampant and set up camp near the Kirkby line with 10 minutes left.
With one attack Fleetwood were over the line but they couldn't ground the ball, and time and again they surged for the line but Fleetwood were denied by a resolute Kirkby defence as the Underley Park side got the win.