|Penrith deserve the win against an off colour Kendal|
|Written by Frank Jameson|
|Wednesday, 04 May 2011 08:25|
Kendal 12 Penrith 15 (Half time: 9-8)
In a typical rumbustious Cumbria Cup final at Davidson Park, Keswick, between the top two sides in Cumbria, Penrith deservedly took the spoils by turning the screw in the last quarter of the game. They scored the only two tries of the game, and it could easily have been double that if their finishing had been better. It was a suitable send-off for their retiring coaches, Stuart Connell and Ian Thompson in their last game together, but a very disappointing result for the Kendal supporters in the large crowd.
The setting was superb, on yet another glorious evening, overshadowed by the great bulk of Skiddaw and the surrounding fells, on what must be one of the prettiest grounds in England.
The first fifteen minutes were rather strange, a little like shadow boxing, as Penrith were tentative, looking for openings, but Kendal dominated possession, and Mark Ireland kicked two fine long distance penalties, one from his own half to give the Black & Ambers a six point lead.
Mike Hawley, the Penrith centre, made the first good break down the right wing, but his pass went straight into touch, a lucky escape for Kendal.
Gradually Penrith grew in confidence and Steve Wood opened their account with a simple penalty, and a few minutes later, made an excellent run straight down the middle. With the line at his mercy, he threw out a speculative pass to his right, straight to a Kendal player. This was the second escape for Kendal, who seemed jaded, and unwilling to take chances in attack.
Steve Wood made another break soon after, and it looked dangerous, but at the resultant maul, Billy Coxon, playing flanker in the absence of the injured Dan White, stole the ball and cleared his line. If Wood had had his kicking boots on, Penrith would have taken the lead, but he missed a penalty from the left wing, then, five minutes before half time, an excellent drive to the right corner by the Penrith pack saw Gary Hodgson crash over for the first try of the game.
Even though Wood missed the difficult conversion, Penrith now had a narrow lead, but it did not last long, because Andrew Irving, the Greens' tight head prop made a high tackle on Garry Holmes, knocking him out momentarily, and was instantly yellow carded. Mark Ireland kicked another penalty to retake the lead, but a few moments later, Gareth Gore was also yellow carded for illegalities in the ruck, so Kendal had immediately lost the advantage in numbers.
The half time interval soon arrived, and I imagine Jon Nicholson had some harsh words to his players at the break. The Penrith pack was gradually exerting control, and there was little fire in the belly of the lads from Mint Bridge. they were leading by one point, much against the run of play.
They increased that lead when Mark Ireland kicked another simple penalty, and kendal did stir themselves for a while, but there was a strange reluctance to spin the ball out to their wings, where Dan Lowther and John Ladell must have stared to shiver as the sun went down, and the floodlights came on.
The Penrith pack were starting to attack with great vigour, and Davidson, their second row, drove over, but was held up by a fine double tackle by Iain Hudson and Garry Holmes, and this prevented him touching down.
The game was almost threequarters over, and Kendal had rarely attacked with venom, rarely penetrating the Penrith 22 metre zone.
John Ladell gave the faithful some hope when he made a superb interception on the blindside from a scrum near his own line. At first he was completely on his own, with over 80 metres to go. There seemed nobody within easy reach, though his right winger was shouting for the ball, so John kicked a great diagonal ball for the corner , and it rolled into touch just short of the corner flag. The3 optimism soon evaporated when Penrith won the line out and comfortably cleared their line.
Matters were definitely not going Kendal's way, a feeling exacerbated when, a few moments later, Mark completely miscued a difficult penalty kick at goal, a very rare event indeed! Yet Kendal were still in the lead!
We were now into the last fifteen minutes, and Penrith turned the screw, those wily half backs, Paul Newton and Steve Wood guiding their pack, encouraging and cajoling them to greater efforts, as they searched for the vital score. Gary Hodgson made another charge for the line close to the ruck, but failed to ground the ball over the line, but this seemed to rnew Penrith to greater efforts.
A penalty kick to the right hand corner by the Greens, but great defence by Kendal kept them out.
By this time, Kendal were living off starvation rations, as Penrith pressed more and more.
Finally in the thrity minth minute of normal time, the Kendal line cracked when Gry Hodgson charged round the blindside of a ruck, and , this time, there was no mistake, he put the ball down firmly, and Penrith had a one point lead. To add insult to injury, Steve Wood added a magnificent conversion from the touchline to increase Penrith's lead.
In the few minutes of injury time added, there were few alarms for the winning team , and joy was unconfined as the whistle sounded, and Mike Raine, their captain, stepped up to receive the Cup.
For Kendal, of course, it was a huge disappointment. After the semi-final against Aspatria, Ian Voortman warned his team that the games were coming in thick and fast, and the next one up is Loughborough Colleges, in four days' time. It will be a difficult task, but no difficult than last night, when Penrith fully deserved to be Cupwinners. There will be some aching bodies this morning on both sides!
|Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 May 2011 08:39|
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|20th Oct 2012||Kendal Vs Lymm||H|
|27th Oct 2012||Birkenhead Park Vs Kendal||A|
|3rd Nov 2012||Kendal Vs Chester||H|
|View full fixture list|
|1 Sept||Kendal Vs Burnage||H||5 - 7||L|
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