IT TAKES something to dim the lustre of Underley Park but the weather gods achieved it with a leaden sky and teeming rain for the duration of the match against league leaders Blaydon on Saturday.

All the locals knew the surrounding fells were there but they were shrouded in a heavy clinging mist which meant the kick off was brought forward to 2pm to gain the most of the daylight – but it was already dark.

Local hero Dave Barton was back for this game and the warm reception he received was testament to the respect he has in the club. On the downside, stand off Mike Fearon was injured along with Dave Maka, Alex Rogers and Stu Storey.

Blaydon applied the early pressure, with handling extremely difficult for both teams in the conditions. And when a Kirkby clearance kick was charged down, the ball bounced kindly for the visitors and they were over by the posts after nine minutes for the first try and a 0-7 lead.

At the end of the first quarter Blaydon were edging it without adding to their score, employing a tactical kicking game to get field position and putting pressure on the Kirkby back three of Andrew Bargh, Harry Huddleston and Harry Ralston.

They were secure under the high balls and ran them back with enthusiasm when the opportunities arose – but with 25 minutes played Blaydon struck again, this time from just inside their own half with some powerful running and slick offloads to get them over for another converted try.

Blaydon next had a penalty shot at goal after 34 minutes but it went wide and there were no further scores in the half, so there was room for optimism as Kirkby made a hot start to the second half and pressured the Blaydon line.

A try looked on and there was one – but not the expected one because Blaydon came up with the ball and ran from behind their own line to score in the left corner. The conversion was missed but the lead had extended to 0-19 with four second half minutes played, and now the task did look uphill.

That hill got even steeper after a scuffle broke out in the 12th minute and ref Dave Charlton halted the game, spoke at length to the captains and then issued red cards to Kirkby number four Gareth Gore and Blaydon 14 James Cooney.

On 18 minutes Mr Charlton was back in the action again when he got too close to the play and got clattered, requiring attention from the physios before he could resume. This slightly humorous incident preceded Blaydon’s fourth try, when the forwards got a drive going to score wide out right, the conversion again missed.

Five minutes later a missed tackle let the visitors in again for a try with no conversion, but at 0-29 Kirkby were in damage limitation territory as the game went into time added on. But with 43 minutes on the clock, Blaydon scored a converted try to make it 0-36.

Kirkby did have a few moments in the match which caused Blaydon trouble and several kickable penalty chances to put points on the board, but they were spurned in favour of lineout or scrum try-scoring opportunities – but it wasn’t working on the day.

Final Score: Kirkby Lonsdale 0 Blaydon 36

Now Kirkby will hope to have everyone fit for the away ‘derby’ game at Kendal this weekend.