KENDAL Rugby Club took a break from their pre-season preparations to book their place in the second round of the Cumbria Cup after they beat Aspatria on a grim day at Mint Bridge.

Strong winds and torrential rain proved a real challenge to both sides, but it was Kendal who came through with a 20-12 win.

The Hornets fielded a strong side with the only new faces from last season being wing Joe Hambley and John Dervey in the back row. In contrast Aspatria were missing several influential players including county players Andrew Miller, Phil Dixon and Ken Bowes. This allowed Coach Mike Scott to give starts to five debutants signed during the summer. Aspatria kicked off playing towards the clubhouse end, playing into the strong wind in the first half. The wind and rain meant there were a lot of early errors, with Aspatria probably having more of the ball, but Kendal making better use of it, when they had it in hand.

Kendal took the lead after a quarter of an hour with a Glenn Weightman penalty, after Aspatria appeared harshly punished for slowing the ball at the ruck, then deservedly saw the penalty advanced ten metres, when the ball was knocked out of James Gough’s hands, when he tried to take a quick penalty.

From the kick off, Aspatria had their best spell, with Kendal failing to get their hands of the ball, and being forced to concede a string of penalties. Finally the pressure told and from a short range penalty second row, Matthew Atkinson crashed over for an unconverted try.

Kendal were only behind for three minutes though, as a lineout was taken well by John Dervey, allowing James Gough to break for the line, and when stopped passed to Chris Park in support. The ball was moved into the centre, and when it appeared the ball had gone loose, Jack Lashley re-gathered it, using the confusion in the Aspatria defence to power over from twenty metres for the opening Kendal try. Glen Weightman added the conversion to give Kendal a 10-5 lead.

Ten minutes later Kendal added to their lead. The forwards put in an excellent drive from a lineout, making a lot of ground against a powerfully built Aspatria pack. Jack Lashley broke away but was isolated. The forwards got the ball back, and when James Gough looked as if he would go for the line himself, he instead put a pass behind his back, which was well gathered by Liam Hayton who went over for the try before Weightman added the conversion.

Aspatria scored their second try almost immediately after Kendal were reduced to 14 early in the second half as Back row Jonathon Burnyeat broke away from a ruck. Jack Clegg added the conversion despite the distraction of the cross bar vibrating in the wind.

With three minutes of the game to play, Kendal were awarded a penalty and resisted the temptation to put the ball to touch. Instead Weightman was given the difficult task of a long range kick into the wind. He judged his kick perfectly with the wind sucking the ball over the post to open up a two score lead and seal the game at 20-12.

Kendal play a warm-up game tonight (THUR) at Mint Bridge against Penrith with a 6.45pm start.