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Kendal 15-17 Kirkby Lonsdale
MINT BRIDGE old boy Dave Barton returned to haunt his former club as Kirkby Lonsdale produced a sensational second-half comeback to stun Kendal and earn derby bragging rights.
Tries from Reece Tomlinson and debutant Oliver Field saw the Black and Ambers surge into a half-time lead, despite Sam Chesney-Benson replying for the visitors.
However, the Underley Park club rallied in the second period as touchdowns from Stuart Storey and Barton saw the deficit overturned as Kirkby outscored the home side to end their winning streak.
Director of rugby Steve Whitehead made one change to the Kendal starting line-up from their win over Vale of Lune with Field replacing the injured Jordan Johnson.
In contrast, the Rams were without influential skipper Matt Hughes as well as Tom Pickthall and made a total of five changes from the side which lost to Carlisle last time out.
After an early spell of Kendal pressure, Kirkby were caught offside with Chris Park kicking the hosts into a three-point lead with a tenth minute penalty.
Park’s radar went astray with a second penalty although the Black and Ambers extended their lead after a long Dan Lowther kick took play deep into the Kirkby twenty two.
Following another penalty and a drive by the forwards, Tomlinson was driven over the line by the Kendal pack with Park successfully converting to take the score to 10-0.
Kirkby then enjoyed a spell of possession and reduced the arrears through second row Chesney-Benson after a break down the right, although stand-in skipper Jack Akrigg sent the conversion wide.
The away side’s resurgence was short-lived as the hosts seized the initiative once more with their second try of the afternoon, as Field finished off a move he started.
After the new recruit’s mazy run down the right, Rob Quarry and James Gough combined to find Lowther who in-turn picked out Field for his first try in Kendal colours.
Despite Park going close to a further try, the Black and Ambers held the whip hand at half-time, leading 15-5 and eyeing a fourth victory on the spin.
Kendal started the second period in a similar fashion to the first with only a poor final pass from Ian Voortman following a Lowther break denying wing Alistair Thompson a try.
Ten minutes later Voortman and ex-teammate Barton were sent to the sin-bin for an altercation with Kirkby securing a foothold in the game shortly afterwards.
Flanker Storey collected the ball from a ruck and exploited a gap in the Kendal defence to score under the posts, with Akrigg converting to take the score to 15-12.
During the course of the second period, Kirkby head coach John Pickthall switched Jack Dickinson to the left-wing with Tom Slater and Johnas Thorsen taking the field at full-back and prop respectively.
After Park failed to convert a penalty, Barton produced the decisive moment of the game, selling a dummy to the Kendal defence before crossing the line.
Akrigg’s conversion rebounded off the post and after Ben Walker came close to a further try, Kirkby had to withstand some late pressure to record a famous victory.
After a number of narrow defeats in recent weeks, Kirkby’s second win of the season sees the Rams rise to tenth in the League North One West table.
Once again Kendal could not replicate their first-half showing after the break but remain fourth despite seeing their three-match winning run come to an end.
Kendal: Billy Coxon, Duncan Green, Richard Harryman, Reece Tomlinson, Liam Hayton, Matty Houghton, Blake Robinson, Rob Quarry, James Gough (c), Chris Park, Alistair Thompson, Dan Lowther, James Duerden, Oliver Field, Ian Voortman. Replacements: Alistair Livesey, James Thompson, Matty Kaye
Kirkby Lonsdale: Dan Armistead, Matt Hoyland, Tim Groves, Sam Chesney-Benson, Simon Dowker, Jack Konczynski, Stuart Storey, Craig Galbraith, Ben Walker, Dave Barton, Matt Belshaw, Jack Akrigg (c), Sam Latu, Josh Maddock, Jack Dickinson. Replacements: Jonas Thorson, Jack Benson, Tom Slater
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