Rossendale 20 Kirkby Lonsdale 14

Once again Kirkby had to ring the changes to get a side out with Alex Briggs in the front row at loose head, coach Gareth Gore in at five, Will Brown came in on the left wing and flanker Josh Sheridan moved to inside centre. Development squad players Jacob Young and Lewis Horner were on the bench alongside Matty Kaye as Kirkby kicked off down the slope which, if nothing else, suggests Rossendale had won the toss and wanted that advantage in the second half.

The first scoring chance went to the home side after 10 minutes. The penalty was wide but they were on the board five minutes later with a try in the left corner, unconverted to lead 5 – 0. This was extended to 10 – 0 with a second unconverted try before Kirkby stand off Mike Fearon narrowed it to 10 – 3 with a penalty at the end of the first quarter.

Towards the end of an evenly contested if slightly uneventful first half a penalty restored Rossendale’s 10 point margin to 13 – 3 and this was the score when the half time whistle went.

Twelve minutes into the second half a Fearon penalty clawed three points back at 13 – 6 before a Kirkby attack gave Josh Sheridan a chance which he took with pace and power to score a try near the left corner flag. The conversion shaved the wrong side of the post but there was nothing in it now at 13 – 11 mid way through the half.

There still wasn’t much in it after Fearon banged over a massive penalty from the half way line but the difference was Kirkby were now ahead for the first time in the match at 13 – 14 with only ten minutes left on the clock. Rossendale put their restart as deep as they could and stormed after it but Kirkby had possession and the chance to hang on to the ball and run the clock down as they battled towards the winning line.

There was huge pressure on the Kirkby defence. They put the ball through several recycles inching it out of their twenty two until skipper Ben Walker chose to put in a long pressure relieving kick downfield, but with that possession had gone and with it the match. Rossendale ran it back and held onto it through a few phases to score the winning try which they converted to make the final score 20 – 14 as the whistle went to end the game.

Rossendale are normally a top five side and it is a tough place to go but Kirkby’s reshuffled team had contested very well throughout and they can be proud of their performance.