EARLIER in the season Kirkby had won the away fixture but a subsequently strengthened Harrogate squad had climbed to fourth place in the league and they arrived at Underley Park hunting down Blaydon and Billingham for the play-off place.

And despite Kirkby having the better of the early exchanges, Harrogate took the lead thanks to a converted try after five minutes.

Kirkby hit back thanks to an unconverted effort from number eight James Barker, who got the ball over the line in the left corner.

And they took the lead when after good work by the backs right wing Harry Ralston flew in by the corner flag, Mike Fearon’s touchline conversion was good.

An offside gave the visitors a kickable penalty but with forward power they opted for touch and a catch and drive from the lineout. This led to intense pressure on the Kirkby line with Harrogate retaining possession phase after phase and it is credit to Kirkby that it took Harrogate 10 minutes to force their way over for a try, converted to put them back in the lead at 12-14.

Harrogate repeated their first half timing when with five second half minutes played they notched up their third converted try to extend their lead to 12-21 before they went over again after more pressure.

And Kirkby's day took a turn for the worst when Ralston was carried off with a suspected broken leg.

The game eventually continued but with Kirkby visibly disrupted, Harrogate converted two more tries to make the score 12-42 before Kirkby skipper Dave Barton lit a spark by smashing through Harrogate from near the half way line to score by the posts, the conversion making it 19-42.

And a revitalised and inspired Kirkby then worked left wing Harry Huddleston in by the corner flag to secure a four-try bonus point.

FINAL SCORE: Kirkby Lonsdale 24 Harrogate 42