1st XV - Report
Kendal 15 vs 21 Harrogate
After 32 minutes, Harrogate were 21 points ahead and a straightforward win, with a much needed bonus point, seemed inevitable.
Kendal kicked off and their flanker, Ben Craghill, was immediately yellow carded for an illegal high tackle. Crucially, Harrogate failed to score during the following 10 minutes of numerical superiority.
Nevertheless, Harrogate seemed to be the better team at this stage. Kendal’s powerful forward drives were well contained by an excellent defence and incisive counter attacks were mounted. Sam Bottomley, supported by Kyle Dench, cut holes through the Kendal midfield and the outstanding James Tyson touched down under the posts. Jack Latus’s conversion put Harrogate 7 points ahead.
Hooker, Aarin Yorke, was then tackled just short of the line after a dazzling 30 metres break. Unfortunately, he sustained a nasty knee injury in the tackle and had to leave the field. His replacement, Nico Nyemba was soon into action and almost immediately seemed to have scored though it was disallowed for an adjudged forward pass. Diminutive scrum half, Phil Wickham, then won possession at the back of a Kendal scrum from their large No8, Joe Ellis. Harrogate were awarded the ensuing scrum and Ryan Peacey broke strongly. Dickie Davies supported and split the defence for Harrogate’s second fine converted try.
A Kendal drive was then ended by a great Sam Brady turnover and this sparked off a series of scintillating Harrogate attacks. Peacey again broke clear from a driving maul and passed to the ever present Tyson who scored his second excellent converted try.
A bonus point winning try seemed inevitable but it was Kendal who scored with the last move of the half. Davies’s pass was intercepted and the ball was quickly released to winger, Kris Bratten, who scored in the corner.
The Kendal forwards machine went up a few gears from the restart and started to take control. After a period of pressure, Harrogate were penalised for coming in from the side. A quickly taken penalty resulted in a try for Liam Hayton.
Harrogate’s replacement stand-off, Callum Irvine, then cut the home defence to ribbons with a 50 metres break. With one defender to beat in midfield, he unselfishly passed to the supporting Nyemba who knocked on with the line at his mercy.
Harrogate were then reduced to defending their lead and chose to hold possession as long as possible. This inevitably led to slow ball for the backs and very few scoring opportunities. Kendal’s Mark Ireland, in his last home game for the Club, was awarded a questionable drop goal and this turned out to be the final score of the match.
Kendal: Mulholland, Mercer, Voortman, Barton, Bratten, Ireland, Boardley, Harriman, Green, Rumney, Hayton, Tomlinson, Holmes, Craghill, Ellis
Harrogate:`Smithies, Latus, Bottomley, Dench, Edwards, Davies (Irvine 50), Wickham, Browne, Yorke (Nyemba 20), Fraser (Bergmanas 65), Harvey, S Brady (J Brady 30), Heaton, Tyson, Peacey (Hannan 65)
Referee: Brendan Fitzmaurice (RFU)
Match Report by Bill Barrack
Photos by Davis Aspinall