IN form Kirkby Lonsdale RUFC are ready to kick on in the New Year and continue their surge up the North Premier table.

That was the message from scrum half and club stalwart Ben Walker after the Underley Park men followed their impressive win at Morpeth the previous week with a comprehensive victory over visitors Ilkley on Saturday.

With four wins from their last five games, Kirkby go into the Christmas break in great heart.

And scrum half Walker, a two try hero against strugglers Ilkley when he produced a consummate display, explained that the rich form came partly as a result of a side with a host of new faces now blending together.

"We are a fairly new squad as we brought a few new lads in at the start of the season," he said.

"But we are getting to know each other now and getting to know each other's strengths and weaknesses."

Walker said newcomers include likes of Reece Tomlinson in the pack and ex-Fylde player Harlan Corrie at No.8 were now showing their value.

And he said with confidence growing by the week and the inconsistencies of the early weeks of the season fast becoming a distant memory, Kirkby are eagerly looking forward to the resumption of fixtures in January.

"We also started with a very tough series of fixtures," Walker pointed out.

"We had to play the likes of Sandal and Harrogate who are top sides in this division so that did make it hard for us in the early weeks of the season.

"But we are really starting to gel now and we're looking forward to the New Year fixtures and kicking on from here.

"We've also got a strong squad now and with three or four more lads now available we have more strength in depth."

The recent victory at Morpeth was particularly significant in that it was Kirkby's first victory on the road this season.

And Walker said while it was difficult to pinpoint exactly why they had underperformed on the road, the squad was understandably delighted that the hoodoo had been broken and it was hoped this would be the first of many triumphs away from Underley Park.

"We have the same mentality at home and away so we couldn't really see why we were struggling away from home," he said.

"We've had a few long away trips and when you are stuck on a coach for a long time it's a bit more difficult to prepare and loosen up."

One spot of bad news is the fact that the Ilkley game was key man and goal kicker Ryan Terry's final game for the foreseeable future as the RAF man has been handed a three year posting to Cyprus.

"We are sorry to lose Ryan as he's a big, strong lad and a great player," said Walker.

However, he said there was a ready made replacement at full back in the shape of ex-Vale of Lune man Chris Ramwell, and he added that ex-Kendal man Mike Fearon was a "brilliant goalkicker" and would be able to step in to take over kicking duties from Terry.

Kirkby resume their campaign on January 4 when promotion chasing Harrogate are the visitors to Underley Park for what promises to be a cracking encounter.