KENDAL narrowly lost to Harrogate on Saturday despite having led for much of the game at Mintbridge.

Just a week after losing 87-7 at Preston, Kendal looked as though they were bouncing back in style against promotion-chasing Harrogate, only to see the points snatched from their grasp late on.

There was a strong cross-field wind but it did not spoil the game, and in the opening exchanges both teams seemed keen to play with the ball in hand, rather than kicking.

With Dom Musetti on the bench, No.8 Matthew Charters led the team out.

After sustaining some early pressure from Harrogate, Kendal had a good attack with Glen Weightman breaking through, with the move taken on by Nathan Wooff, but he could not get the ball away to Kris Bratton in the left wing.

Kendal took the lead after twelve minutes. Bratton collected a Harrogate clearance kick near halfway, and weaved through, beating a number of attempted tackles then sprinting away to score. Glen Weightman converted to put Kendal 7-0 ahead.

Kendal were quickly back on the attack. There was a good run from Dini Noyo, who offloaded to Danny Barker, who made ground and then passed back to Noyo who had stayed in support. When the ball was recycled, Harrogate were penalised, and Weightman extended the Kendal lead to10-0.

The fast Kendal defence was forcing a number of handling errors from Harrogate, but the Kendal scrum was in trouble, and were forced to concede a number of penalties.

With half an hour played, Harrogate narrowed the lead. Kendal seemed to have stolen the ball, but the referee decided illegally and Harrogate outside half Luke White put the kick over.

Kendal started the second half putting a number of phases of play together, but the Harrogate defence held out. They held out until twenty five minutes into the half, when Harrogate outside half Luke White put over a penalty when Kendal were caught offside to make it 10-6,ut Kendal quickly extended their lead again. Weightman put a long kick to touch and at the lineout Harrogate conceded a scrum for their throw in. After earlier dominating in the scrum, Harrogate conceded a penalty. Substitute Chris Park put over the difficult kick into the cross wind to make it 13-6.

With only eight minutes to play, when awarded a penalty, Harrogate chose to go for the points, rather than look for a try to tie the scores, and Luke White narrowed the lead to 13,9.

The re-started kick was returned by Harrogate, and the ball was fumbled, to give Harrogate a scrum. There was then a good run from the scrum which took play from halfway into the Kendal twenty two, but the defence got back and held out forcing Harrogate into touch.

Harrogate stole the Kendal throw, and their forwards set up a drive for the line. Throughout the afternoon, the Kendal forwards had held out against this tactic but this time they could not stop Harrogate getting to the line and grounding the ball to take the lead. The conversion failed but for the first time in the afternoon, Harrogate had their noses ahead at 14-13.

Harrogate played the game out with their forwards retaining the ball, often going backwards, but making sure Kendal had no chances. When time ran out the ball was put to touch for a narrow victory.