KENDAL returned to face Stockport after a fortnight since their last game against Manchester.

Glen Weightman and Matt Houghton came back from injury, while Ben Leacock, Dan Lowther and Dan Reid who had not been available for that game come in, so only Lewis Kincart and Danny Barker, were missing from a full-strength team.

It was still a daunting challenge, against a Stockport team who had won all twenty-one games, picking up seventeen try scoring bonus points and only conceded two losing bonus points and no try scoring bonus points.

Stockport were delayed on the motorway, so as had happened in the game at Stockport the kick off was delayed – although that was Storm Arwen, whilst this was a bright sunny afternoon. The game kicked off about twenty minutes late. A good start for Kendal as Dan Shorrock chased Glen Weightman’s kick off and forced a Stockport error.

Both teams made errors in the early exchanges, but Stockport got the opening score. A penalty was put to touch and from the lineout the ball was moved to the left wing for a score, which was converted 0v7.

Both teams were struggling to take clean lineout ball. After a quarter of an hour Glen Weightman was forced off with an injury and Mark Carruthers came on. Stockport added a second try after twenty minutes.

The referee played a long period of advantage after a high tackle, before coming back for a penalty. This was put to touch and the No.8 broke away from the resulting lineout to score 0v14. Glen Weightman returned, but almost immediately Kendal lost Steven Nelson, although he also returned after some repairs.

With five minutes of the half to play, Kendal was reduced to fourteen men when Matt Houghton was yellow carded. Just when it looked as if Kendal could hold out until half time, Stockport added a third try, from a scrum near the Kendal line, with a simple move opening a gap in the Kendal defence, possibly due to the missing back row man. 0v21. Kendal was however themselves not finished and came back.

A Stockport player was penalised for blocking Dan Shorrock’s run at the restart which put Kendal on the attack. One drive from a lineout was stopped illegally, but from the second lineout the Kendal pack (plus Ben Dixon) drove over – no idea who got the touchdown (best guess was Reece Tomlinson but needs to be confirmed). Chris Park added the difficult conversion to see the teams turn at 7v21. A Stockport player was also yellow carded for his part in trying to stop the build up to the try.

Four minutes into the second half Stockport restored their advantage.

Again, the referee played a long period of advantage for a high tackle, before coming back for the penalty.

The try came from short range and the difficult conversion was added off the post, 7v28. With Matt Houghton back, Kendal was soon back to fourteen men when Jordan Johnson was yellow carded (not sure what for, possibly speaking out after been taken out by a burley Stockport blocking runner). Stockport added a fifth try after a scrum, and the only one to not be converted. 7v33.

This saw Kendal bring fresh legs on with Liam Hayton, Dane Blenkharn and Mark Carruthers, replacing Ben Leacock, Robbie Collinson, and Joe Fiddler, with Matt Houghton moving to his old role of hooker.

With twenty minutes to play Kendal added a second try, Glen Weightman went for the line and the forwards took it on for a try (again no idea who scored – could even have been Glen). Chris Park added the conversion, which finally brought up his 1,000th point. Stockport added a further try five minutes later.

Kendal was caught out when the referee penalised them, when it looked as if the penalty would go their way.

Stockport ran it quickly for an easy score. 14v40. Ben Leacock returned in place of Reece Tomlinson. Stockport seemed intent on preventing a further score, and conceded a string of penalties, to set up Kendal lineout drives. Finally with three minutes to play, the referee’s patience with this tactic ran out and he awarded a penalty try. 21v40.

With Kendal looking for a fourth bonus point try, Stockport again conceded a string of penalties, but when in injury time Kendal had a lineout on the Stockport line, Stockport stole the throw and put the ball dead to end the game and maintain their record.