Morpeth 12

Kirkby Lonsdale 17

THE on the road hoodoo was finally laid to rest as Kirkby Lonsdale deservedly grabbed their first away North Premier victory of the season with a narrow win at Morpeth.

There were massive contributions from a depleted squad which travelled without the likes of Ben Walker, Mike Fearon, Harlan Corrie and Alex Rogers to deliver that first away win.

Kirkby did welcome back David Cooper-Dunn back following a spell playing in Australia and similarly, prop Ross Hobbs returned to the fold after a spell playing in New Zealand, while skipper Dave Barton elected to play although suffering from a heavy cold.

The visitors started well but though chances were created, frustratingly balls were dropped, passes went astray and tries went begging.

It is not untypical in these circumstances for the team under pressure to suddenly turn the tables and score and that’s exactly what Morpeth did, going ahead with an unconverted try on the half hour.

Kirkby battled on but had to wait until five minutes into the second half before going ahead.

Centre Scott Armstrong put in a powerful angled run through tackles then fed left wing Harry Huddleston who went over for a try which was converted by Ryan Terry.

Under more pressure Morpeth then coughed up a penalty for not releasing and the deadly Terry banged it over from 25 metres to extend the visitors' lead after 14 minutes of the half.

Morpeth sent on the cavalry hoping to find a way back into the game but it was Kirkby who struck again when the ball came back from a ruck to skipper Barton who crashed over in typical fashion, Terry again converting to stretch the lead to 5-17.

The last 20 minutes saw a Morpeth resurgence but Kirkby kept them out until three minutes from time when a converted try brought the home side to within touching distance.

It was a tense last few minutes as Morpeth ran the ball back from the restart and put it through several phases as they ground their way towards the Kirkby line but a knock on in injury time gave Kirkby possession and after a couple of minutes of keeping possession, Barton banged the ball off the pitch to end the match for a confidence boosting victory.

The game was played in a great spirit and the home side deserve praise for packaging up the Kirkby post match meal after the visitors were forced to make a hasty return when coach driver Dan Willan received news of a serious family illness.

Kirkby are finding some form and are looking forward to the final fixture of the year next Saturday at home against bottom side Ilkley.