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Rugby Union: Wigton 36-15 Kirkby Lonsdale
WIGTON shrugged off any lingering relegation fears to confirm their North One West status for another season after seeing off a depleted Kirkby Lonsdale at Lowmoor Road.
Gregg Smith, Will Miller and Matthew Atkinson all touched down to give the home side a commanding lead before tries from Ed Towers and skipper Matt Hughes reduced the arrears before half-time.
Richard Moffatt and Stuart Creighton both made the scoresheet for Wigton, either side of Sam Chesney-Benson crossing the line, as the hosts ran out comfortable winners.
Jack Akrigg started at ten in place of the injured Dave Barton while Alan Robinson replaced Stuart Storey at seven as Sam Latu moved to 12 and Josh Maddocks started on the right wing.
With only two minutes on the clock, Miller cut through the Kirkby defence before feeding full-back Smith to score under the posts, with David Hanabury converting.
Moments later, Wigton doubled their advantage as inside centre Miller again dissected the visiting defensive unit to score under the posts, with Hanabury adding a further two points.
Kirkby did enjoy a spell of pressure inside home territory but failed to score, with fly-half Akrigg picking up an injury after 17 minutes which prevented any further involvement in the game.
The Kirkby scrum was the more dominant of the two, allowing the Underley Park outfit time on the ball in the opposition half, although once again they failed to capitalise.
The away side were made to pay as number eight Atkinson crossed the line for Wigton’s third try of the afternoon to extend the lead to 21 points.
Wigton flanker Elliot Armstrong received a yellow card as Kirkby took full advantage of their numerical superiority as Towers registered Kirkby’s first points of the clash.
And shortly before the break, Hughes crashed over the line after taking possession ten metres out as Kirkby reduced the deficit to 11 points, trailing 21-10 at half-time.
Early in the second period Kirkby were penalised for not rolling away from a tackle as Hanabury successfully kicked the resulting to penalty as Wigton seized control of proceedings.
Kirkby were displaying an uncharacteristic lack of cohesion in the backs division, epitomised by centre Moffatt intercepting a pass outside the Kikrby twenty two to score.
Kirkby refused to buckle and managed to pin Wigton in their own twenty two, with a series of scrums driving the pack towards the line as Chesney-Benson touched down.
However, Wigton had the final say as flanker Creighton scored the hosts’ fifth try of the match, with Hanabury’s conversion completing the scoring.
After slipping to sixth with this defeat, John Pickthall’s side will bid to reclaim fifth place in North West One when they entertain Wilmslow in their final home game of the season on Saturday.
The game also signals Simon Dowker’s retirement following a long and distinguished rugby career with the Underley Park faithful set to bid farewell to a player held in very high esteem.
Kirkby Lonsdale: Ryan Holmes, Dan Armistead, Tim Groves, Matt Hughes (c), Simon Dowker, Sam Chesney-Benson, Alan Robinson, Craig Galbraith, Ben Walker, Jack Akrigg, Martyn Knapton, Sam Latu, Tom Pickthall, Josh Maddocks, Ed Towers. Replacements: Jack Konczynski, Tom Capstick
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