Kirkby Lonsdale (17) v (28) Altrincham Kersal Senior Colts
Once again the Colts come from behind to steal a victory
There can't be many more scenic venues than Kirkby Lonsdale with the rolling hills of the Southern Lakes as the back drop. AK arrived on the back of a five game winning streak in the league.
Kirkby were only able to field 12 players at the start. Having to drop two forwards disrupted AK's game plan and it played into the home teams hands early on. After 5 mins Tom Gill made a fantastic kick to touch, the ball landing deep into the opponents half. AK did not react quickly enough to defend the mark and Kirkby took a quick throw in, Kersal's defence was at sixes and sevens and the the home team made good ground through midfield, evading a series of poorly executed tackles to race almost the full length of the pitch to score and take a 5-0 lead. From the restart Kersal looked to turn the score around quickly, applying pressure at the breakdown, but the Kirkby pack were strong and weren't making it easy. On 15 mins the referee awarded KL a penalty for a very dubious offside, which perplexed both players and spectators alike. Kirkby took advantage and once again made the most of weak Kersal defending to breeze through the middle from 40 metres out to score.
Things weren't looking good for AK and it further deteriorated on 26 mins when Kirkby scored again, converting to take a 17-0 lead. The visitors needed the interval to regroup, however they got a break shortly before the whistle. From a 10m scrum Sam Walsh feed Aaron Antrobus who drove through, but was held up just short, but not before he found Walsh in support who stepped over to give Kersal some hope, closing the gap to 5-17 at half time.
Kersal needed a good start to the second half and they got just that, when in the first minute Walsh received the ball wide on the right on the halfway line. He saw the space opening up ahead of him and backed himself, racing away from the KL defence to score in the corner to narrow to gap to seven points.
Kersal were now growing in confidence with most of the play taking place inside the Kirkby Lonsdale half. On 47 minutes AK had the put in at a scrum 10m from the KL line. From the ensuing breakdown Sam Walsh broke the line only to be felled a metre short, Jacob Ansbro was supporting on the outside to take the pop pass from Walsh on the floor to step over and score the simplest of tries to take the score to 15-17.
The visitors were now eager to get their noses in front and they did just that on 56 minutes. Kersal stole the ball from a wayward Kirkby lineout on halfway, Tom Sullivan who had now slotted in at centre hit a long range pass, missing out two players to find Cormac Grieves in acres of space on the left wing. Grieves evaded two tackles as he accelerated 30m before being tackled 10m out. from the ruck Walsh fed Sullivan, who popped a pass back inside to Pat Brooks-Maher who was charging through on a great line to burst over and score. With only 14 minutes left to play Kersal were in front for the first time in the game.
A feature of the second half was Kirkby's inability to win their own lineout, regularly throwing the ball beyond the last man, Sam Walsh was alway on hand to secure the loose ball. On 67 mins Kersal capitalised again to extend their lead to 8 points. Kirkby threw the ball beyond their last man in the lineout, Walsh scooped up and stepped over from 5m. With only minutes on the clock the game was all but won, however Kersal weren't going to stop at that. With the last play of the game the referee penalised Kirkby 10 metres out in front of their own posts. Tom Gill stepped up and slotted over to finish the game 17-28 to Altrincham Kersal.
Not the prettiest of wins, but the boys again showed great character to turnaround the score and secure a victory to keep them at the top of the table.
Tries - Sam Walsh (3), Jacob Ansbro (1), Pat Brooks-Maher (1)
Penalties - Tom Gill (1)