Blackburn suffered their first defeat of the season, as they lost 11-3 away to Kirkby Lonsdale.
It was a beautiful day in Cumbria and ideal conditions for an expansive game, however it proved to be the opposite, with much of the play in the middle of the pitch, although Kirkby always looked the more threatening of the teams. So far this season, Blackburn’s forwards had bossed their opponents, however they were not able to impose their superiority on a well organised Kirkby and throughout the match Blackburn struggled to break the defensive line of the home side.
Blackburn had an early chance to open the scoring, when they had a penalty kick at goal after 3 minutes, the kick was taken by Dom Hogan, it was well struck, however it landed just short. The home side soon had a chance to take the lead with a penalty after 7 minutes and their fly half, Parson’s, duly took this with an impressive kick from 35 metres out. Kirkby added to their lead after 12 minutes with another well taken penalty kick by Parson’s giving his team a 6 – 0 lead.
Blackburn did manage to claw some points back after a successful penalty kick from Dom Hogan on 24 minutes, however these proved to be the only points for the away side on a frustrating day. Blackburn’s line out, which had worked well so far this season, was not functioning as it should and they struggled winning their own ball, while Kirkby’s worked well, with an especially impressive display by second row, Simon Dowker. The lineout problems made it hard for Blackburn to retain possession in potentially threatening positions. Blackburn’s problems were compounded on 25 minutes as returning captain, Luke Copping, hobbled off with a leg injury.
On 30 minutes Kirkby came close to scoring the first try of the match as the number 8, picked up from the back of the scrum and found himself in space and made good ground before chipping over the advancing Blackburn defence, the ball ran into the in goal area, however he was unable to stretch and apply downward pressure on the ball. After this Kirkby kept up the pressure on Blackburn and threatened the try line, but Blackburn defended well to resist Kirkby’s advances. Then just before the break Blackburn were unable to kick another penalty kick at goal, leaving the score 6 -3 at half time.
The second half didn’t start well for Blackburn as centre, Anton Garcia, was replaced after just 3 minutes, due to an injury he had sustained in the first half, but had been unable to shake off. Again the game was tight, until the 52nd minute, when from a line out in Blackburn’s 22, the home side drove on, before the scrum half picked up and scampered over the try line to give Kirkby an 11 – 3 lead. The score should have increased, however Parson’s missed the conversion in front of the posts, this was partly due to the pressure that charging Richard Maudsley put on the kicker.
This stirred Blackburn and they had their best phase of the game, a further penalty kick was missed by Dom Hogan, but then on 60 minutes Blackburn came the closest to scoring a try. Paul Millea took a quick tap from a penalty and charged to the line, however he was then adjudged to have knocked the ball over the line. The rest of the game became scrappy, with both teams making mistakes and no further points were added.
It proved a disappointing day for Blackburn, they were unable to break tackles enough, due to this play became frantic and too many mistakes were made, one positive was that on the whole Blackburn’s defence was well organised. They will hope to improve for the next match on 8th October at home against Upper Eden.