KENDAL senior rugby teams enjoyed a busy weekend on the pitch. 

A number of changes had been necessary as the team headed to Stockport for the first of the second round of league matches.

Robbie Collinson was out which saw Joe Lashley moved to hooker, and Greg Wrathall make his season debut in the back row, after a few run outs for the Seconds.

Tadhg Butler was in the second row with both Alex Ryder and Liam Hayton on the bench.

Mattie Kaye so Joe Allday came in at scrum half for his debut, Glen Weightman was carrying an injury, so started on the bench with Dan Lowther going to outside half and Danny Barker to centre. Leo Mercer returned on the right wing.

Last season’s game had taken place on one of the “storm Saturdays” but this year it was a bright sunny afternoon.

Stockport, who had had a narrow victory at Mint Bridge at the start of the season, came into the game in seventh, nine points ahead of Kendal. Like Kendal they reputedly had players out with injuries.

Stockport dominated the early exchanges, and kept the ball alive, with quick re-cycling but the solid Kendal defence was up to the challenge and there was no score.

Totally against the run of play, it looked as Kendal may take the lead on their first visit to the Stockport half, when Ignacio Cisint made a break down the right, breaking a number of tackles, but his pass to Dan Shorrock who was in support went astray.

Instead, it was Stockport who took the lead after a quarter of an hour. Kendal had been conceding a string of penalties and the referee brought play back for one near the line, but then gave Stockport the option of a lineout.

Both teams struggled at the lineout all afternoon, but this time Stockport made no mistake and a player broke away to score, 7v0 with the conversion added.

Stockport continued to dominate, but could not add to their score.

After twenty-five minutes Liam Hayton came on for an injured Reece Tomlinson.

After half an hour on a rare visit to the Stockport half, Kendal evened the scoring with an excellent move.

Ben Dixon broke from near halfway, and Steven Nelson took the move on, but could not get through.

The ball was recycled and moved left and Dan Shorrock was stopped, but again the ball came back and good handling saw the ball moved across the field to the other wing and a good pass from Danny Barker put Leo Mercer in in the corner. Dan Lowther added the conversion. 7v7

This remained the score at half time with both teams staying out.

Glen Weightman came on at half time to replace Danny Barker with Dan Lowther moving into the centre.

Two minutes into the half Kendal had the lead. An excellent passing moved with runs from Ignacio Cisint, then Dan Shorrock, who put Ben Dixon in at the corner for the try. Dan Lowther again added the conversion from near the touchline. 7v14

Stockport resumed control and levelled the score after ten minutes, when their scrum half broke away after a quickly taken penalty, to put the centre over under the posts. 14v14

Kendal were beginning to struggle in the scrum, and Joe Anderson, was forced off with an injury, with Alex Ryder coming on and Tadhg Butler moving into the front row.

Stockport had a number of scrums on the Kendal line, but despite awarding penalties the referee did not give a Penalty try, but eventually the Stockport pack drove over for the score but the fairly easy conversion was missed. 19v14.

Stockport remained on top, but Kendal looked dangerous on the break but both defences held firm.

Finally on the half hour a few missed tackles saw Stockport added a fourth try and with the scorer going around under the posts this time the conversion was successful. 26v14.

Danny Barker returned in place of Dan Lowther.

With five minutes to go Kendal put together another excellent passing move, and debutant scrum half Joe Allday, who had had a very good game was rewarded with a try, despite being stop short he was able to stretch over for the score. With Dan Lowther off Glen Weightman attempted the conversion. 26v19.

With time running out the Stockport forwards tried to run the clock down, keeping the ball tight but this almost backfired when they were penalised. Kendal moved the ball wide and Ben Dixon broke down the left, and tried to thread a kick through for Dan Shorrock to chase but the ball agonisingly rolled into touch.

The referee said there was time for the lineout, but quick thinking by the Stockport hooker, saw him throw the ball low and short to his prop, who gave the ball to the scrum half to hammer into touch.

The Kendal team did all they could and came far closer to victory than the balance of play suggests.

The bad news was it is rumoured that was the last game for both Ben Dixon and Ignacio Cisint, who both had good games. A positive was the performance of Joe Allday at scrum half, despite playing behind a pack which was often second best at scrums.

Stockport’s scrum half was Alex Pantechis, who played five games for Kendal at the start of the 2018/19 season.