West Hartlepool 28 Kendal 36

Down 26-17 with less than 10 minutes to play, victory looked difficult for Kendal at West Hartlepool but they produced a late, late show to take the win.

Matt Houghton, Robbie Collinson and Greg Wrathall were all unavailable, so Tom Moulton, Ross McKay and Dini Noyo came in, with Nick Calton moving into the centre, Steven Nelson rejoining the back row and Logan Flett going to hooker.

West Hartlepool had the better of the early play and their strong pack kept Kendal pinned in their own half, despite the visitors having the benefit of the wind. They opened the scoring after five minutes with a strong drive from a lineout, before the ball was moved wide for their left-wing Max Tennant to exploit an overlap. Full-back Zac Southern converted to make it 7-0.

West Hartlepool continued to dominate but Kendal were on level terms after a quarter as, on their first visit to the West Hartlepool 22, several players went close. The referee then awarded Kendal a penalty for a high tackle, which was run, and Glen Weightman went over for the try, which he also converted.

Kendal came into the game with Lewis Kincart, Steven Nelson and Logan Flett all stopped close to the line and when awarded a penalty Glen Weightman took the points to give Kendal a slender 10-7 lead.

The lead did not last long as, from a penalty, West Hartlepool put a kick into the 22 and took the lineout then drove for the line. While the Kendal pack stopped the drive, the ball was recycled a few times for a try which was converted by Southern to put the hosts 14-10 ahead.

West Hartlepool extended their lead when the ball was chipped through to the line and was put dead by Kendal to give West Hartlepool a scrum. They duly drove over for the try, which was again converted by Southern to extend their lead to 21-10.

Kendal had the last word in the half through a Mark Carruthers break as he fed Dini Noyo to make a run down the wing. He kicked ahead then spectacularly gathered the ball as it bounced to dive over for the try. Glen Weightman added the conversion to reduce the gap at half time to just four points.

At half time, Kendal brought on Dane Blenkharn for Tom Moulton, with Blenkharn going to hooker and Logan Flett returning to prop.

Three minutes into the half West Hartlepool were reduced to 14 men for 10 minutes when their No8 was yellow-carded for a deliberate knock-on when going for an interception. Kendal could not take advantage, with Hartlepool carefully running down the clock.

After 20 minutes Kendal made a second change, with Dan Shorrock coming on on the wing and Lewis Kincart moving to scrum-half in place of Jordan Johnson.

A minute later Kendal were temporarily down to 14 when Mark Carruthers was yellow-carded for a deliberate knock-on and, if the Hartlepool one had looked a little harsh, this certainly appeared to be a failed interception rather than anything illegal.

Kendal were let off when the referee spotted a forward pass as Hartlepool were about to score again but the relief was short-lived as they were driven off the scrum and Hartlepool stole the ball to score, with Southern adding the conversion for 28-17 with a quarter to play.

The West Hartlepool team were clearly tiring as Kendal upped their game and, with under 10 minutes to play, a Hartlepool player illegally stopped a move and was dispatched to the touchline for 10 minutes.

The penalty was run and Dan Greenwood drove over for a try which Glen Weightman converted to close the deficit to four points with six minutes of normal time to play.

Kendal were soon back on the attack and, with time running out, from an attack on the right the ball was switched left and Dan Shorrock made a good run down the wing to touchdown to edge the visitors a point ahead.

There was still time to play, so a late Hartlepool score could snatch victory, but instead Nick Carlton made a good break down the right. He got the ball away to Mark Carruthers, who made ground and when he was stopped Carlton was in support to take the pass and score. Glen Weightman added the conversion to make the game safe at 28-36.

Deprived of even a losing bonus point in a game they had led for all but six minutes, Hartlepool could close the gap when they were awarded a penalty.

The kick was put deep into the Kendal 22, but the away side disrupted the lineout and the chance and game were gone.