KIRKBY Lonsdale shocked runaway league leaders Preston Grasshoppers 17-12 at Underley Park on Saturday.

Tries from Ben Walker and Harry Huddleston and some resolute defending was enough to inflict Preston's first defeat in 18 Northern Premier Division matches this season.

Kirkby kicked in front of a large crowd and into a strong wind but, it was Preston who applied the early pressure taking play into the home twenty two.

Good work down their right touchline put Scott Jordan over near the right corner flag for the first try, the conversion was wide but the visitors led 5-0 after twelve minutes play.

A high tackle gave Kirkby a chance for points, and while Tom Pickthall’s long range kick fell just short and under the posts, Kirkby were coming more and more into the game.

A Hoppers clearance kick was caught, fed inside and run back by Scott Armstrong who broke a tackle to charge into the twenty two. Captain Walker was running the inside channel and he took the well timed pass to canter over behind the posts to draw Kirkby level. Pickthall’s conversion took Kirkby into the lead at 7-5 at the end of the first quarter.

Things were getting a bit fired up on the pitch and this resulted in a double yellow, Walker for Kirkby and Jordan for Hoppers, and moments later vice captain Pickthall saw yellow and joined his skipper on the bench.

Fourteen on the pitch for the visitors then and thirteen for Kirkby but the man advantage didn’t have any effect. During this period, it was the home side who looked more likely to score but the scoreboard didn’t move and with all players restored to the action it was still 7-5 when the half time whistle went.

The second half was a mighty affair. Preston picked up another yellow when their number four took a Kirkby player out in the air but again the man advantage didn’t count.

The visitors probably had a slight edge in the set piece scrum but Kirkby were able to control things well enough to secure their own ball and the battle swung to and fro.

There was a long period of pressure from the visitors in the Kirkby twenty two which looked like it would produce a score, chances came and went as heroic defence kept them out and the ball eventually went loose near the Kirkby line and into the hands of Walker.

He darted through a gap and was away down the left and over the half way line, cover closed in but a sweetly timed pass inside to Huddleston cut out the last defender and put the young winger in by the posts. Pickthall’s conversion extended the lead to 14-5 with twenty minutes to play.

A long range Pickthall penalty nudged the lead out further to 17-5 before a converted Paul Arnold try for Hoppers closed it to 17-12 with ten minutes on the clock.

The game could still have gone either way and the pendulum swung Preston's way when they were awarded a penalty. An easy touch kick to the left corner and a catch and drive would do it but as players regained their feet, Hoppers' Sam Gale was red carded for stamping.

The ref then reversed the penalty, Kirkby cleared to touch, won their lineout and ran the clock down for a very famous victory.