IT was a nailbiter, but Kendal finally got their season going on Saturday with a hard fought home victory over Percy Park.

And as they prepare for this Saturday's testing trip to Morley, the club's director of rugby Chris Hayton believes the side can build on that maiden North One East win and put the recent difficult times behind them.

"It's a different league this season and it takes time to get the measure of new teams who we haven't played for a while and work out where their strengths are," he said.

"And we have a lot of new faces in the team and a new coaching team and that takes time to bed in.

"But it was great to get a win and it gives us a platform to push on.

"It is a very strong division we are playing in but the plan is for gradual progress and we are trying to take the team forward by small steps."

Mr Hayton said a key feature of that plan for progress was to play fast, entertaining rugby and he said the standard of the playing surface at Mint Bridge helped that aim.

"We have a pitch that is absolutely excellent and it is conducive to the speed at which we try to play the game," he explained.

"There are bigger teams in our division and our plan is to play fast, open rugby and move them around, and that pitch enables us to do that."

And Mr Hayton said he was pleased local players featured prominently in the first XV and felt this was a positive feature in building a successful future.

"We have players from West Cumbria and also overseas players but it is very important to keep a nucleus of local players," he said.

"That means the players in our development set up can see there is a pathway forward to the first team so it encourages them to stay at the club.

"And it is also important for our supporters as it means they feel a connection to the team."

The spirit at the club was certainly evident in Saturday's game as Kendal stuck to their task in a battle between two well matched sides.

The visitors had started well, enjoying long spells of possession, but the home defence held firm and the pack looked much stronger than in previous weeks.

However it was Percy Park who took the lead with a penalty from outside half Toby Davison after Kendal had been caught offside.

This seemed to wake the home side up, and a break by Mark Carruthers, back to his best after an injury lay off, led to a home penalty which skipper Glen Weightman converted to tie it up at 3-3.

And it got even better for them on the half hour as after good work by man of the match Greg Wrathall, a loose pass was scooped up by Alistair Thompson who powered over for the try with Weightman converting.

Six minutes into the second half, Kendal extended their lead as Rory Blakeney-Edwards powered in for a try to make it 15-3.

But the North East side did not give up and their forwards drove over for a converted try to narrow the gap to five points.

And when a fine break from right wing Michael Grove saw him cross for an unconverted try which levelled the scores, it was well and truly game on.

A long range penalty from Weightman edged Kendal back in front, and when he repeated that feat two minutes into injury time, victory looked assured.

There were still a few nervous moments, but the home side hung on for a precious win which gives a priceless boost of confidence as that daunting trip to Morley looms.

"Morley will be very tough," said Mr Hayton.

"They finished third last year and fancy their chances this year, and they are a typical Yorkshire side who will make it very hard for us."