11:38am Monday 27th January 2014
By Ross McLean
JAMES Gough’s late try sealed a bonus point victory for dominant Kendal who move to within five points of third-place Widnes in League North One West.
The Mint Bridge side never trailed in the match with Dan Lowther, Matty Houghton and Garry Holmes touching down for the home side.
Vale of Lune maintained an interest in the game courtesy of Jack Turton – who scored all the visitors’ points – before Gough crossed the line to secure the home side’s win.
Kendal were forced into a late change as Liam Hayton sustained a pre-match injury, with Houghton his replacement as Holmes moved to number eight and James Thompson to second row.
The Black and Ambers once again made a fast start to proceedings with Lowther’s penalty into the Vale half laying the foundations for Kendal’s forwards to once again show their strength.
After Reece Tomlinson took line-out ball the pack drove to the line from outside the twenty two, with Holmes breaking away before passing inside for Lowther to score a second minute try.
Tomlinson and James Thompson were consistently claiming Vale ball from the line-out and restricting their opponents’ ability to escape their half.
And after quarter of an hour, a successful steal allowed the pack to drive to the line, with Houghton the man to emerge and add a further five points.
Ten minutes later a string of penalties followed the interception of a Lowther pass which took the visitors inside the Kendal twenty two, as fly-half Turton registered Vale on the scoreboard.
This was a rare foray into Kendal territory as the hosts enjoyed territorial advantage for most of the first-half, although the away side rallied in the latter stages.
Vale missed the opportunity to reduce the arrears further as a further penalty sailed wide before hooker Phil Berry was sent to the sin bin of the stroke of half-time.
Leading 10-3, Kendal started the second period strongly and penned Vale in their own twenty two for the vast majority of the first 20 minutes, but were unable to extend their advantage.
The Vale cause was not aided by further yellow cards to full-back Nick Royle – the second highest points scorer in the division with 145 – and replacement prop James Hesketh.
Kendal took full advantage of their numerical advantage in the 63rd minute with the pack driving over the try line for Holmes to score his seventh try in three matches.
While Vale came back into the game they were largely kept at bay until Turton broke through the centre of Kendal’s defence to score Vale’s only try with five minutes remaining.
Despite being under pressure for long periods, Vale now only trailed by five points although the Black and Ambers’ defence held firm.
The forwards continued to drive Kendal on with replacement Billy Coxon making a number of breaks to reassert their authority and put Vale on the back foot.
Two minutes into stoppage time, the pressure finally told with the pack once again driving over the line as skipper Gough dived on the ball to confirm the win.
Chris Park added a further two points, with Kendal’s final try not only securing a bonus point but at the same time depriving Vale one of their own.
This victory sees Kendal tighten their grip on fourth place in League One North West, with a free Saturday this weekend ahead of a trip to Underley Park to face Kirkby Lonsdale the week after.
Kendal: Glen Chesher, Duncan Green, Richard Harryman, James Thompson, Reece Tomlinson, Matty Houghton, James Cox, Garry Holmes, James Gough (c), Dan Lowther, Mark Carruthers, Ian Voortman, Alistair Thompson, Andrew Boardley, Chris Park. Replacements: Billy Coxon, Jordan Johnson, Ben Leacock.
Vale of Lune: Paul McLaren-Dorrington, Phil Berry, Alex Cowey, Adam Foxcroft, Gareth Tudor, Scott Foy, Danny Lin, Ben Charnley, Olly Dobson, Jack Turton, James Curran, Jonty Higgin (c), Oli Carter, Adam McLuskie, Nick Royle. Replacements: James Hesketh, David Haigh, Russ Pillow
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