HARROGATE found themselves beaten 42-26 at Kendal on Saturday, having travelled without four key players for the National Two North contest.
Harrogate had a dream start when their forwards turned over Kendal possession and Kyle Dench started an incisive backs move. Second row, Gareth Lodge, gathered the ball at the breakdown, shrugged off attempted tackles and powered through the midfield for an outstanding 35 metre try. Rob Almond’s conversion put Harrogate 0-7 ahead after 3 minutes.
A high tackle then gave Kendal’s Mark Ireland his first penalty opportunity which he effortlessly stroked home and the home side continued to attack. Throughout the game, Kendal consistently broke the first tackle and the first evidence of this was a searing midfield break by centre, Ben Robinson. Prop, Iain Hudson, supported well to score and Ireland’s conversion put Kendal 10-7 ahead.
Harrogate then lost another key player when experienced centre Sam Bottomley had to depart with a badly broken nose. He was replaced by Luke Edwards who played well along with the other youngsters, Almond,
Toby Quarendon & Pete Lucock. The Harrogate backs continued to look dangerous in attack but final passing errors lost them several try scoring opportunities and their defence wasn’t as well organized as normal.
Kendal second row Liam Hayton, then backed up another powerful midfield attack and scored near the posts to give Ireland a straightforward conversion. Their next try came from hooker, Duncan Green, who was on hand to take the scoring pass from flanker, Gary Holmes who’d split the Harrogate defence with a bullocking run.
Ireland kicked another penalty to extend the home lead before a silky Almond break gave Edwards some space on Harrogate’s right wing. His strength and speed took him almost the length of the field before being tackled into touch. Kendal illegally prevented a quick throw-in and Harrogate set up a driving maul from the subsequent penalty. Hooker Aarin Yorke, squirmed through the home defence for a converted try to make it 25-14 at the interval.
The second half started evenly though Kendal continued to look the more dangerous of the sides. They showed good ball retention skills in their driving mauls and this led to another try for Hayton. Harrogate responded with a dazzling Quarendon run out of defence and Almond was on hand to dance through the remaining defenders for an excellent try.
Ireland kicked yet another penalty to make it 35-19 but Harrogate continued to play their trademark attacking rugby. Another attempt to counter attack from defence led to a telegraphed miss-pass which was easily intercepted by Kendal winger, Dan Lowther, who strolled over to score. With the final whistle looming, Harrogate continued to attack and Jake Brady was forced into touch just short of the goal line. In the last move of the match, Harrogate turned a Kendal defensive scrum and were awarded the put-in at the next one. Ryan Peacey drove strongly from the base of the scrum to score and another Almond conversion ended the match
Kendal: Mulholland, Lowther, Robinson, Voortman, Ladell, Ireland, Morosan, Hudson, Green, Harryman, Hayton, Gore, White, Holmes, Mallinson
Harrogate: Quarendon, Almond, Bottomley (Edwards 10), Dench, Lucock, Carmichael, Wickham, Browne, Yorke (Maycock 75), Fraser (Tampin 52), Brady, Lodge (Spencer 70), Heaton (Johnson 70), Harland, Peacey