KENDAL RUFC made a winning return to action by beating Cleckheaton 22-7 at Mint Bridge in their first appearance since the end of January.

Robbie Collinson, Joe Robinson and Kris Bratton all went over for Kendal to secure the double over the west Yorkshire side.

Kendal started well, but could make no impression on a tight Cleckheaton defence.


The deadlock was finally broken after quarter of an hour, when Cleckheaton gave away a soft penalty with chasing players being caught ahead of the kicker when a long kick was put downfield. Chris Park stepped up to put the kick over for three points.

There was a blow for Kendal though as Duncan Green, who had been injured earlier, was forced off with Collinson coming off the bench.

Kendal continued to have the bulk of possession and territory, but were to lose the lead after half an hour. After what had initially looked a poor kick through, there was a string of errors as various Kendal players failed to gather the ball on the sticky ground, and Cleckheaton centre Matt Piper benefitted, hacking the ball through to gather and score under the posts with fullback James Wilson adding the simple conversion.

This stung Kendal into action, and after a few attempts to drive from lineouts had been thwarted, there was no mistake when another penalty was put to touch. The forwards drove over the line for Collinson to touch down, for Kendal to re-take the lead at 8-7.

As the game moved into injury time, after failing to find a way through the Cleckheaton defence, Kendal varied their attack. Bratton, who already had made a few good breaks down the wing, popped up in the centre. He broke through, but his run was ended by a high tackle by Cleckheaton centre Josh Hall, who was yellow carded.

Kendal stayed on the attack, but little errors keep them from adding a further score. Then a refereeing decision clearly upset the Kendal pack, as it gave Cleckheaton a scrum, but they responded perfectly stealing the ball at the scrum. A number of runs from the forwards set up a good position, then Damian Armstrong broke through only to be stopped near the line, but Robinson was on hand to go over for the try. Chris Park added the conversion to extend the lead to 15-7.

Finally the third try arrived after a quarter of an hour. After good work on the right the ball was moved left. Armstrong made a break, and then passed to Bratton who still had plenty to do, but a magnificent weaving run around potential tacklers put him over for his second try in two games. Park again converted and it was 22-7.

Kendal continued to press, but could find no way through and Cleckheaton occasionally looked to break out, and with ten minutes to play, Blake Robinson was yellow carded for an offence at the breakdown.

With two minutes to play the referee was forced into issuing another card. After breaking out of defence, Danny Barker, and Cleckheaton centre Hall appeared to throw a punch. Despite already having being yellow carded, the referee decided it was a punch to the head so it was a Red card offence, and sent him off.

The dismissal did not lead to any further score and Kendal claimed the win with the only disappointment not being able to find the bonus point fourth try.