KENDAL won their first game at the new Mint Bridge on Saturday, beating Birkenhead Park 22-20.

Freezing weather the night before had left the first team pitch unplayable, but the fixture was still fulfilled as the sides took to the artificial 4G surface instead.

Visitors Park opened the scoring after three minutes with a penalty after Kendal had been caught offside.

Kendal came straight back and had an opportunity to draw scores level, but the kick failed.

Kendal stayed on the attack, and Glen Weightman went through a gap and passed to Liam Hayton, who while tackled, drove to the line, but could not get the ball down. Following the resulting scrum the ball was knocked on, to allow Birkenhead Park to clear the pressure.

The Kendal score finally came after ten minutes of play. Jacob Sutton retrieved possession and set up Weightman who broke through the Park defence to score. He could not add the conversion but Kendal were 5-3 ahead.

Birkenhead Park had the better of play, frequently keeping control of the ball through many phases of play, but rarely putting the Kendal defence in any danger.

Despite being forced to defend for so long, it was Kendal who increased their lead at the end of the half. There was a poor tap down from a lineout throw, but Dini Noyo tidied it up and broke through. When he was stopped, Sutton was in support and went through several tackles to score in the corner. Weightman put over the difficult touchline conversion to make it 12-3.

It took only five minutes of the second half for Kendal to add a third try. The ball was moved quickly, and when it came to Nathan Wooff, he jinked through to score under the posts. Weightman again converted to move the score to 19-3.

Park continued to play well, and finally after a long period of pressure in the Kendal twenty two they went over in the corner for an unconverted try.

Kendal continued to put themselves under pressure by kicking ball away to allow Park to mount more attacks, keeping the ball in hand.

Substitute Chris Park was soon called into action to make a tackle to stop a Birkenhead break down the right wing, but the ball was recycled and moved to the left for another try to reduce the gap to one score at 19-13

Nerves were soothed when Birkenhead were penalised for a high tackle, and Park put the kick over to make it 22-13.

Birkenhead started to find more gaps in the Kendal defence, but a mixture of poor decisions and excellent tackling back kept them out. But finally, with five minutes to play, Park went over for a converted try to narrow the score to two points.

Kendal brought on Alistair Thompson and James Gough for Matty Houghton and Danny Barker, and Kendal had their best spell of pressure of the half, and looked as if they were about to add the vital fourth try to seal victory, only for several players to be stopped on the try line. Then a pass from Weightman to Noyo was adjudged forward, giving Birkenhead a scrum near the line.

The ball was moved into the centre, and Park ran from their own line, breaking through the Kendal defence and a score looked certain, but somehow Chris Downham got back to drag the player down.

Downham was then yellow carded. Rather than attempt the penalty, which if successful would have given them the lead, Park put the ball to touch for a lineout.

When they were stopped Kendal were penalised again. Birkenhead were offered a much easier penalty, but despite calls from their bench, the spurned the kick for victory, and went for a scrum, but a handling error then brought the game to a close.