|Kendal win a nine try thriller|
|Written by Frank Jameson|
|Sunday, 06 September 2009 07:37|
Kendal 37 Leicester Lions 33
Mark Ireland scores 17 points on his debut
Kendal and Leicester Lions opened their league programme in the new National 2nd Division North with a quite remarkable game at Mint Bridge in which a total of nine tries were scored. When the final whistle blew, it was not just many of the players who were breathless, it was fast and furious for 80 minutes! The Black and Ambers started off like a house on fire, and rattled up 31 points in the first 26 minutes, scoring 4 splendid tries, all converted by their new dead-eyed centre, Mark Ireland, to add to an early penalty goal.
This was a new Kendal side, with five players in total making their league debut, and it was one of them who opened the scoring after only 12 minutes’ play, when Gary Hodgson barged over from a close-in scrum.Gary was followed by another debutant when Matt Charters, playing at No.8, made an excellent break down the middle, taking advantage of some hesitant Lions defending, to dash over under the posts.It was all one way traffic when, a few minutes later, Rob Aloe made a magnificent interception in his own half and popped up a peach of a pass to put Lewis Boyd in the clear. Lewis pressed the accelerator and was gone, not a finger being laid on him, for a 40 metre special.Ian Voortman then rolled back the years with a 50 metre break, straight through the middle of the hapless Lions, and the Kendal faithful could not believe their eyes.
It was magnificent teamwork from all the home side, they were brimming with confidence, and had already secured a bonus point with only 26 minutes gone, possibly one of the fastest on record at Mint Bridge.Leicester, it seemed, had hardly touched the ball, but gradually started to claw their way back into the game, gaining more possession, and putting pressure on the home defence, which cracked just before half-time when Scott Aldred scored their first try from close in, Gerhard Boschoff converting.
After half time, the pressure increased, as the Lions whimper became a roar. Home possession dried up and after nearly ten minutes hammering on the door, the Lions centres combined well after a set scrum for Scott Morris to reduce the deficit, Boschoff again converting.Mark Ireland pegged them back temporarily with a long distance penalty, but the pressure increased, and good passing by Leicester put Scott Alfeld over for two further tries, to give him a well deserved hat trick.
Kendal were wobbling, the home crowd went very quiet, as the Black and Ambers were winning very little ball from either scrum or line out. Some of the players were starting to breathe hard as the fast pace of the game was beginning to tell. Jon Nicholson started to bring on fresh legs, with Reece Tomlinson and Ian McDowell joining the fray.But, as Ian Voortman said afterwards, once a team is on a roll, it is very difficult to stop their momentum, and the Lions seemed to hammer another nail in the coffin when Lee Dyment scored their fifth try after 69 minutes to narrow the gap to only one point.
There were still eleven long minutes left and Kendal were on the ropes.But the lads dug in! Mark Ireland settled their nerves with a magnificently struck long distance penalty to increase the gap to four points, and to bring his personal tally to seventeen points, seven kicks out of seven. His was a magnificent kicking display and augurs well for the future.
In the meantime, Kendal battened down the hatches and wound down the clock in time honoured fashion, keeping the ball close and not giving Leicester a sniff of possession, taking the ball into their opponents’ half. It was a tense last few minutes and the lads refound their tackling skills and pounded the Lions players time and again, the experienced players leading the way, and Rob Aloe, the smallest player on the field, setting a fine example to his bigger colleagues.When the final whistle finally blew, there was the biggest cheer of the afternoon, a cheer of relief as well as elation.
The feeling afterwards was that once this new team gets to know each other a little better, they can only improve. It takes time for a side to gel, but once they do, and perhaps increase their fitness levels, other sides had better look out. The Cumbrian machine will be rolling.
|Last Updated on Sunday, 06 September 2009 10:52|
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