KIRKBY Lonsdale's run of 51 consecutive home league wins ended when Harrogate snatched the lead back in the dying moments of Saturday's encounter.

Harrogate kicked off and made a bright start maintaining pressure in the Kirkby twenty two.

They had their try after five minutes when number five Sam Brady was driven over. Stand-off Luke White converted to give the visitors a 7-0 lead.

Kirkby hit back with a spell of pressure of their own following the restart, and with 15 minutes on the clock, full back Ryan Terry scored from a penalty to make it 7-3.

A close encounter swung Kirkby’s way when stand-off Dave Barton put a clever chip over the defence towards the right touchline. Harrogate were first to the ball but fumbled it and Kirkby number thirteen Scott Armstrong was able to steal it and score in the corner. The difficult touchline conversion just missed but Kirkby had the lead at 8-7

Although down to fourteen men following a yellow to Cameron Rowse, it was Kirkby who had the last say in the half and as they attacked another deft chip from Barton created an opportunity. This time, Martyn Knapton took the ball at full pace in the air then fed a pass to put Armstrong in space to score his second unconverted try in the corner to take the teams in at half time with the score at 13-7.

Kirkby extended this early in the second half when Terry banged over a penalty into the wind from around thirty five metres to make it 16-7.

The score probably wasn’t what Harrogate were expecting and they built pressure on Kirkby through their forwards with a series of rumbles and a penalty gave them an attacking opportunity close to the home line. Their catch and drive was resisted but they still had possession, more forward rumbles were also resisted and when the next penalty came Harrogate took the points with a kick from White to narrow the gap to 16-10 with fifteen minutes of the half played.

They narrowed it further to 16-13 with another White penalty and their hopes would have been high, especially when Kirkby’s Barton was given a yellow card.But the Kirkby fourteen rallied and took play into the visitors territory where more good work from Armstrong created a chance for flanker Stuart Storey around the opposition twenty two. With pace and power he managed to get the ball down for an unconverted try, leaving the score at 21-13.

Harrogate who got a slice of luck when Kirkby dropped their long downwind restart kick. The scrum gave them possession and position ten metres or so from the line and although Kirkby defended resolutely, Harrogate were eventually able to put their right wing Olly Rosillo over in the corner. White made the touchline kick and the score was 21-20 but there were only two minutes of normal time to play.

With high wind and lashing rain in their faces it was tough enough for Kirkby and penalties against made it tougher. The game went into time added on with Kirkby hanging on to the lead but in the fourth minute the fortress was breached. There was a kind of mayhem with the ball ricocheting around with neither side able to control it but it popped up for Harrogate’s centre Noel Milikin who scored, this made it three tries each with White’s conversion taking the final score to 21-27.