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Rugby Union: Kendal 15-20 Birkenhead Park
A TRY from Birkenhead Park hooker Stu Brown contributed to Birkenhead Park’s second-half comeback, despite Kendal outscoring their high-flying opponents at Mint Bridge.
James Thompson and Reece Tomlinson touched down for the home side with Holden replying for the visitors as the Black and Ambers secured a fifth losing bonus point in seven defeats.
An inexperienced Kendal side suffered a heavy defeat in the reverse fixture at Upper Park early in the season, with only six of that matchday squad featuring this time around.
The hosts opened the scoring after five minutes, clean line-out ball was taken before Thompson broke away to score after a strong drive to the line.
In difficult conditions, Andrew Boardley’s touchline conversion came back off the post as Birkenhead replied with a penalty shortly afterwards.
Kendal’s second try came from a penalty into the Birkenhead twenty two and a further drive by the forwards, with Tomlinson credited with the try as Boardley converted.
A further penalty reduced the arrears for the away side while the scores were taken to 15-9 at the break as a Boardley penalty was cancelled out in injury-time.
The Black and Ambers took advantage of the strong wind in the opening period, although their lead looked fragile as Birkenhead pressured the Kendal line in the opening stages of the second-half.
And with the home side again conceding a penalty in midfield, a successful kick brought Birkenhead to within three points of the Kendal tally.
The visitors took the lead 15 minutes into the second-half, Holden crossing the line for an unconverted try after strong play by the Birkenhead forwards.
Kendal were in total control of the scrum, driving their opponents off their own feed on several occasions with the introduction of veteran prop Martin O’Keefe having minimal impact.
Kendal missed the opportunity to re-take the lead as a couple of penalties went astray before Birkenhead relieved the pressure with a successful fifth penalty to claim a 20-15 victory.
While Birkenhead remain only a point behind league leaders Wirral, Kendal are now seventh on 38 points with a game in hand following the Altrincham Kersal abandonment.
That re-arranged fixture now takes place in January, with a trip to Warrington first up after the winter break followed by Carlisle at Mint Bridge, as Kendal look to build on positive recent home form.
Kendal: Glen Chesher, Billy Coxon, Richard Harryman, Liam Hayton, Reece Tomlinson, Garry Holmes, Jamie Cox, James Thompson, James Gough (c), Dan Lowther, Andrew Boardley, Ian Voortman, Alistair Thompson, Mark Carruthers, Chris Park. Replacements: Matty Houghton, Ben Leacock, Robbie Collinson
Birkenhead Park: Gareth Jones, Stu Brown, Peter Doolan, Lawrence Thomas, Jack Ashcroft, Robert Doolan, Lawrence Cowan, Dave Ibbotson, Sam Chidley, Daniel Rich, Gavin Scott, Billy Woof, Greg Hughes, Joe Spencer, Dave Hall (c). Replacements: Martin O’Keefe, Ollie Mabbott, Shaun Woof
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