IN-FORM Kendal produced an explosive first-half performance to claim their third successive win against bottom of the table Altrincham Kersal as flanker Garry Holmes crossed the line four times.

Building on his two tries last week, Holmes scored all his points in the opening period and was joined on the scoresheet by Reece Tomlinson and James Thompson.

Trailing 41-0 at the break, James O’Rourke and scrum-half Dave Coleman registered for the Greater Manchester side although James Gough’s try ensured a comfortable victory for the Black and Ambers.

There was a solitary change to the Kendal side which started last week’s win over Carlisle with James Cox replacing Billy Coxon at flanker, as Brad Jackson was named among the replacements.

The away side opened the scoring in the first minute, Dan Lowther drilling a long kick into Altrincham territory and the pack driving Holmes over the whitewash, with Andrew Boardley converting.

Kendal extended their lead six minutes later, line-out ball was won following another Lowther kick into the hosts’ twenty two with Tomlinson emerging to score.

After a period of Altrincham pressure, Kendal stormed back into the ascendency with Boardley’s break down the right flank leading to Holmes scoring his second of the afternoon.

And two minutes later Holmes completed his hat-trick, rounding off a passage of play involving Alistair Thompson, Tomlinson and Liam Hayton following a chipped Lowther kick.

The visitors’ next five points stemmed from a penetrating Hayton run, with the Kendal pack’s strong drive halted by an Altrincham forward breaking the scrum too early as a penalty try was awarded.

Boardley’s conversion took the score to 31-0 with number eight James Thompson powering over moments later on the back of another resilient Kendal scrum.

The first-half blitz was completed almost on the whistle, Lowther’s kick to touch laying the foundations for Holmes to cross the line once again for his 16th try of the season.

At the break, Chris Evans replaced Cox in the back row while Jordan Johnson made his long-awaited return to action after injury by replacing Boardley.

Altrincham reduced the deficit on 65 minutes as O’Rourke broke to the line before Coleman scored a second try shortly afterwards although Kendal retained a healthy 41-10 lead.

Cox and Boardley returned to the field in place of Hayton and Alistair Thompson with the Black and Ambers going on to score their eighth try of the game five minutes later.

Successful line-out ball paved the way for skipper Gough to break down the left wing, with Boardley putting over a difficult conversion to complete the Kendal scoring.

Although Altrincham hooker Tom King was sent to the sin-bin, the home side were awarded a penalty try with ten minutes remaining which Coleman converted.

Kendal’s defence held firm as the Kersal Drive side went in search of a bonus point, with replacement Jackson making a late cameo appearance in place of Boardley.

Kendal, who stay fourth in League North One West, go in search of a fourth consecutive win and a clean sweep of victories in January when they host Vale of Lune this weekend.

Altrincham Kersal: Paul Appleton, Tom King, Sam Pitt, Craig Austin, Josh Cammiss, Ben Davies (c), Sam Clayton, Rob Heseltine, Dave Coleman, Dale McLean, James Coulson, Glen Waldon, J.P. Singleton, Jack Wise, Ben Harris. Replacements: Steve Richardson, James O’Rourke, Jonny Coulson

Kendal: Glen Chesher, Duncan Green, Richard Harryman, Liam Hayton, Reece Tomlinson, James Cox, Garry Holmes, James Thompson, James Gough (c), Dan Lowther, Mark Carruthers, Ian Voortman, Alistair Thompson, Andrew Boardley, Chris Park. Replacements: Brad Jackson, Jordan Johnson, Chris Evans