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Rugby Union: Kirkby Lonsdale 44-10 Warrington
CRAIG GALBRAITH led the charge with two tries as a dominant Kirkby Lonsdale ran in seven tries to dismantle Warrington with a commanding performance at Underley Park.
After Kieran Hughes crossed the line for the visitors, Dave Barton, Tim Groves, Tom Slater and Ben Walker all joined Galbraith on the scoresheet, with a penalty try compounding Warrington’s misery.
Following a break from senior debutant Ryan Preston on five minutes, a swift recycle saw the ball reach winger Hughes who gave the away side the lead, with Pat Roberts converting.
However, Kirkby hit back almost immediately with a move involving Barton, centre Jack Akrigg and Sam Latu which took the hosts from one end of the pitch to the other.
Latu was found on the right wing, making yards before cutting inside and creating space for Barton who took a return pass from the Australian to score in the corner.
Moments later, after declining a kicking opportunity following a sustained period of pressure close to the Warrington line, number eight Galbraith powered over as Kirkby took a 10-7 lead.
Kirkby’s next try stemmed from stand-in hooker Alan Robinson winning a scrum against the head close to his own line, with Walker feeding winger Martyn Knapton in space near halfway.
Knapton’s burst was halted a metre short of the line, although forward support allowed Galbraith to again profit to cross the try-line for his second try of the game.
And with half-time approaching, prop Groves reacted quickest to a loose ball within the visitors’ twenty two to surge over for Kirkby’s bonus point try and a 20-7 interval lead.
The visitors started the second period at a furious pace, with Stuart Storey’s yellow card for not rolling away from a tackle increasing the pressure on the Kirkby defence.
With Warrington on the offensive, Barton joined Storey in the sin-bin for a deliberate knock-on as he attempted to intercept a pass although Kirkby’s defence held firm despite their numerical disadvantage.
A Roberts penalty reduced the deficit to ten points as the match entered its final quarter, although the scrum-half was sin-binned shortly afterwards.
Tom Pickthall made no mistake with the resulting penalty and having weathered the storm Kirkby re-seized the initiative with a try from full-back Slater, with Pickthall converting.
With the home side rampant, Walker gathered a bouncing loose ball ten metres out to score under the posts and make absolutely sure of victory as Pickthall converted.
Matt Hughes, Phil Lequeux and Callum Sheldon all made a contribution from the bench, with Kirkby awarded a penalty try after the referee penalised a wilting Warrington scrum, with Pickthall converting.
This was Kirkby’s fifth home win on the bounce, storming up the league into seventh-place and joining a cluster of teams in mid-table in and around the 40-point bracket.
With no League North One West fixture this weekend, Kirkby’s next match is at Carlisle a week on Saturday with the Underley Park side keen to avenge October’s narrow home defeat.
Kirkby Lonsdale: Tim Groves, Andy Robinson, James Law, Simon Dowker, Jonny Mason, David Cooper-Dunne, Stuart Storey, Craig Galbraith, Ben Walker, Dave Barton, Martyn Knapton, Tom Pickthall, Jack Akrigg (c), Sam Latu, Tom Slater. Replacements: Matt Hughes, Phil Lequeux, Callum Sheldon
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