Two views on the match.
Morley scrape a win against Kendal
Morley were fortunate to beat Kendal 12 – 8 on Saturday. The Cumbrians had the majority of possession in an error strewn game. It was providential that Mark Chester had his kicking boots on as he converted all 4 penalties on offer to register all 12 points for Morley. Morley did well in the scrums and pushed back Kendal on several occasions but their lineout was less successful.
Morley put points on the board on each of their two forays into the Kendal half. The first came after a break by Mark Chester. This led to attacks down the right before the ball was brought back for Chester’s first penalty.
Chester was involved in second attack when he cleverly switched the game from the left where Baylis, Ellis and Freeman had taken the ball forward, to the right with a crossfield kick. Greiogair Hogg did well to jump and collect the ball but lost it on landing. However, the referee had spotted an infringement and Chester slotted his second penalty on 16 minutes to give Morley an unlikely 6 – 0 lead.
Kendal returned to the attack and gained their first points with a penalty on 21 minutes from stand-off Glen Wightman. Five minutes later, after sustained pressure, scrum half Jordon Johnson shrugged off a weak tackle at a ruck and although tackled short of the line, gave a scoring pass to Nick Carlton to put Kendal into the lead 8 – 6 on 26 minutes.
Kendal were over Morley’s try line four minutes later, but the referee deemed the ball to be held up. Morley held out from the 5 metre scrum but poor kick from defence allowed Kendal to continue to press until the half time whistle.
No doubt coach Colin Stephenson had harsh words to his team about the importance of catching a ball, holding onto to it in the tackle and the importance of passing backwards. Whatever he said, it did make a difference on the re-start as Morley showed much more passion in their play and controlled possession. A try looked imminent as Morley stretched the Kendal defence, and a penalty was scant reward when a Kendal player deliberately knocked the ball forward to prevent the pass. Chester took the sensible option to calmly kick his third penalty to edge Morley into a narrow lead 9 – 8 on 44 minutes.
Morley continued to have slightly more of the ball as the game was played at a high tempo. Rather two high for the skill levels of both teams as precision was sacrificed for pace and the number of errors grew. Three or four good opportunities for Morley were lost as they tried to force the last pass rather than patiently build the next phase.
Chester had another successful penalty kick on 70 minutes when Kendal infringed to stop a powerful driving maul which was heading for the try line. Chester maintained his 100% success rate to increase Morley’s lead to 12 – 8.
More Morley pressure on the Kendal line was eased when Morley gave away unforced penalties and Kendal had one final run down the left in an attempt to get their second try. However, Morley held out and forced a knock on to end the game.
Next week, Morley will again be at home next week as they face Pocklington with a 3.00 pm kick off. Pocklington earned themselves victory in probably the surprise result of the day when they gained their first win of the season in beating the league leaders, Driffield, who were previously unbeaten.
No doubt Colin will be emphasising that Morley should not read too much into their current position of 11th. Morley will need to step up their game and concentrate on the basics to ensure another home victory.
Kendal view point
CRACKING GAME BY MARK HODGKISS
Not one for the purists with too many mistakes from both teams, but the result was in doubt until the final whistle
After starting the season with two long away trips, this was a shorter journey to a Morley team sitting fourth in the table at the start of the day.
There were a number of changes to the starting line-up. Steven Nelson was at home for the birth of his child, Mark Carruthers was away, Dini Noyo will be out for a few weeks after picking up an injury against Percy Park last weekend, whilst Kris Bratton had picked up an injury in training. Rory Blakeney-Edwards moved to fullback, Joe Cook came onto the wing and Nick Carlton into the centre, whilst Joe Lashley came into the back row. The bench was a mixture of youth and experience, with Harry Hampsey-Cook making a second appearance, whilst the other two spots were taken up by Chris Park and coach Richard Harryman.
Kendal forced a mistake from the kick off, and had the better of the opening exchanges, but it was Morley who opened the scoring, on their first attack. Kendal ball went loose in the Morley half, and the ball was kicked downfield to give Kendal a defensive lineout in their twenty-two, only for the ball to be lost. Morley had options out wide, but instead kept the ball in midfield, and whilst the chance was lost, they were awarded a penalty that outside half Mark Chester converted. 3v0
The Kendal scrum was under pressure, and were driven off one put in, and Dan Greenwood did well several times to gather poor ball with the scrum going backwards. Kendal continued to have the better of play, and there was a chance to score when Glen Weightman put a kick into the corner, and the Morley defender made a mess of gathering the ball allowing Ben Dixon to turn it over, but his pass failed to be gathered. Kendal then lost the ball at the resulting scrum, and Morley attacked down the left, only for Nick Carlton to intercept, but then lose the ball.
On only their second attack Morley doubled their lead. Kendal were again driven off the ball at a scrum, and Morley moved the ball, only to knock on, but the referee had spotted a Kendal infringements, and brought play back for a second penalty, which Mark Chester again converted. 6v0.
After often failing to put prolonged periods of play together in earlier matches, the Kendal team were keeping the ball much better, with good build up work, including two good runs from Joe Cook. This gave Glen Weightman the opportunity for a penalty, which he put over to narrow the lead. 6v3.
The Morley defence had clearly spotted the danger posed by Danny Barker’s power, and closed him down quickly whenever he had the ball. Kendal were soon on the attack again. Nick Carlton, got stopped after making a good break down the left, but then going for the line himself, with two men free outside him. He soon made up, after Jordan Johnson spotted a gap in the Morley defence at a ruck, and made ground, Carlton was on hand to take the scoring pass. 6v8.
Glen Weightman was playing a good kicking game, putting the ball behind the Morley defence and tiring their powerful pack back, who were getting few chances to show their scrumaging prowess. It looked as if Kendal had scored again, as the forwards drove to the line, but after signalling the try, the referee spotted that Morley had stopped the ball being grounded, to instead give Kendal a scrum. Glen Weightman put a kick to the corner, which Rory Blakeney-Edwards gathered, but was unable to control the ball which went forward. The score stayed 6v8 at half time, and the view on the touchline from the Morley support was they had probably been fortunately not to be further behind, but had had chances themselves if passes had gone to hand.
Morley started the second half the better, and Kendal had a spell in defence. Danny Barker was probably fortunate to escape with only a penalty against him, when his knock on ended a Morley attack on the left, but this gave Mark Chester the chance to kick his third penalty and put Morley back into the lead. 9v8.
Kendal continued to attack, and a good Jordon Johnson break ended when his pass to Nick Carlton was knocked forward, then Ben Dixon was unable to gather a Glen Weightman crossfield kick. The game continued at a frenetic pace, with both sides making handling errors to turn ball over, on a dry warm afternoon with no wind, which should have been good for handling. The Morley support was frustrated by the referee (who had a good game) several times allowing Kendal a lot of time to get the ball to ground, whilst from a Kendal perspective several times tackled Morley players seemed to hold onto the ball on the ground long after being tackled and held.
As the game entered the final ten minutes Morley mounted an attack, and a solid forward drive looked about to give them an opening try. Kendal held out, but illegally and the referee awarded a penalty, that appeared to be taken quickly, and the ball moved to the right wing, only for the referee to call play back (for a forward pass ?) but then seemed to re-award the original penalty, which appeared to have already been taken. Rather than attempt to drive Kendal over again, Morley gambled by taking the penalty to extend their lead to 12v8 with a fourth success from Mark Chester.
Kendal who had not made any changes, brought all three off the bench with Harry Hamspey-Cook, Chris Park and Richard Harryman, replacing Joe Lashley, Tom Moulton and Joe Cook, with Ben Dixon moving into his normal back row position, after another good afternoon as a stand in wing. Kendal had a penalty when Glen Weightman was tackled high. He chose to go for the corner rather than narrow the gap, but the kick was too long and went dead. Kendal then found themselves with the ball deep in their own twenty-two in injury time, and struggled to break through a solid Morley defence, but were awarded penalties that allowed them to escape the stranglehold. There was one last chance for Kendal in injury time. Ben Dixon powered down the left wing, with support on both sides, and the Morley defence out of position, but his pass did not go to hand and Morley were able to end the game.
Despite the disappointment of the narrow defeat, in a game that Kendal dominated for long periods, this was a promising performance, especially with a number of players missing. It was certainly a game that Kris Bratton or Dini Noyo could have enjoyed. Whilst Kendal looked much better in attack, with better options, it was also a good defensive display, preventing a team with a solid pack and hard running back division from scoring a try.
The losing bonus would have taken Kendal out of the bottom three, if it had not been for Pocklington, previously without a win, defeating previous unbeaten Driffield, in what will have been a local Derby. Kendal are the next visitors to Pocklington in a fortnight, but before then there is a game at Mintbridge against Huddersfield YMCA now the only team left without a win, but the Pocklington result shows Kendal will need another good performance to get a positive result.