Kendal 29 Sandal 36

With games beginning to run out, a win was required against a Sandal team, who while eighth in the table, did not have the best form away from home, writes Mark Hodgkiss.

There were a number of changes to the Kendal team from the loss at Harrogate. Dini Noyo moved to scrum half, with Andrew Boardley going to the bench along with Rob Quarry and Dan Wilson starting in Dini’s place on the right wing. In the pack both the second rows were out, so Dom Musetti dropped back, with Billy Coxon coming into the front row, whilst Chris Evans got his first start of the season.

Both flankers were changed, with Ben Dixon starting, and in a late change Robbie Collinson originally selected as hooker replacing Kirk Chettleburgh, with Jack Lashley starting as hooker.

Kendal made a good start and went in front as Myles Harrop went over following a string of rucks.

The strong wind prevented Glen Weightman from adding the extras as his kick from the touchline was blown off course but Sandal had more joy with the boot as James Ellar converted a penalty to get the visitors onto the scoreboard.

Kendal’s second try came after20 minutes. On a difficult afternoon for lineouts with a strong wind, and also only one second row playing, Dom Musetti did his job as stand in second row to take the lineout throw, then made ground. When the ball came out, Danny Barker wrong footed the Sandal defence, and drifted through a gap to score under the posts, with Weightman adding the conversion.

The lead was extended four minutes later, with a third try. Dini Noyo made a good run, the forwards then set up a number of drives near the line, before Billy Coxon broke away, before getting a pass to Jack Lashley, who went over from short range. From a similar spot to the first try, Weightman put over an excellent conversion from near the touchline, despite the wind to make it 19-3 and he was on target with a penalty to further extend the lead.

In first half injury time Sandal forced a number of penalties, and good ball retention stretched the Kendal defence, which initially held firm, but finally in the sixth minute of injury time, Sandal got their first try to make it 22-8.

Sandal had the benefit of the wind in the second half and soon added a second try, which this time was converted.

Kendal had a number of opportunities, but good defence and a number of handling errors, meant that they could not get the fourth try, and were punished when Sandal drove over from a lineout and Ellar added the difficult conversion, to draw the side level.

With Kendal tiring, Sandal fullback Jack Townend took advantage of some weak tackling, to weave his way through from close to halfway to score, and give his team the lead for the first time, with only five minutes of normal time to play.

Five minutes later, Kendal lost their bonus point with Ellar going over for a try which he converted to make it 36-22.

But there was time for Ben Dixon to go over for Kendal's fourth try to snatch a bonus point, leaving the team at the end of the game with two bonus points- one was for scoring four tries and the second point was for losing by 7 points or less. 

The bad news was the result at Vale was exactly what they did not want, a good Lymm win, with Vale also getting a try-scoring bonus point, although they missed out on a double bonus point of their own by two points.