Kendal vs Harrogate
By Peter Kitching
Belying their League position, Kendal’s well drilled defence gave Harrogate a serious challenge for much of the match.
This made the 3-3 half time score a fair reflection of play but, in the second half, Harrogate’s driving forward play opened more cracks in the home defence and their creative backs ran in three unanswered tries. Sam Brady was a colossus in the second row and his partner, Andy Boyde gave a towering performance in the loose. His powerful half breaks committed defenders and his skilful off-loads continually put the supporting players into space.
Harrogate took an early lead from a Nathan Wyman penalty kick after Kendal’s defence went offside. The scrums were evenly contested but Harrogate’s pack were increasingly dominant elsewhere and a Brady line-out “steal” set up waves of attacks. A knock-on decision led to a Kendal scrum from which they launched a flowing backs attack but winger, Nick Charlton knocked on what would have been a scoring pass.
Kendal went offside at a breakdown but the penalty was reversed because of alleged Harrogate contact with a player’s face and Chris Park’s kick levelled the scores. The impressive home defence then held out against prolonged Harrogate attacks with Boyde’s telling off-loads increasing the pressure. The ball was quickly spun left and a try seemed certain but Harrogate were penalised for crossing. Oli Rosillo gathered a long kick under pressure and launched a counter attack from deep. Andrew Lawson supported well and a try seemed certain but the referee halted play because of a leg injury to a Kendal player. The forward pressure continued but, in the last move of the half, a Harrogate touch down was judged to have been held up’
From the restart, James Millington, Tim Heaton and Martin Dodds combined well to win turnover ball for Harrogate. The attack went into touch but Brady stole Kendal line-out ball and the pressure continued. Kendal went offside and Wyman’s kick made the score 3-6. Kendal’s Dino Nyo counter attacked from deep but his line kick was gathered and the ball was quickly recycled to Harry Jukes whose pace took him clear for a fine 30 metres try. Unfortunately, he sustained a shoulder injury in the process of scoring and had to leave the field. He was substituted by Harry Barnard who was returning from an injury lay-off.
Wyman’s attacking guile put himself in space on the left and he skilfully cross kicked to midfield. A try seemed certain but a wicked bounce delivered the ball to a defender who cleared. With 15 minutes remaining, Kendal brought on George Tuala, a Polynesian man mountain as a replacement hooker. His girth dictated that 15 minutes would be about as much as he could manage but he made a big impact on the scrums. Harrogate wouldn’t have relished a defensive 5 metres scrum with him in the pack but fortunately, it didn’t happen.
Barnard gathered a well judged Luke Riddell attacking chip and sprinted 30 metres to touch down. Unfortunately, the referee waited till after he’d “scored” to decide that he’d been in front of the kicker and a Kendal penalty was awarded. Aarin Yorke won good turnover ball to launch a Harrogate counter attack but, for the second time in the game, the referee stopped play because of a Kendal lower limb injury.
Lawson then made a searing break after creative Harrogate back play and chipped ahead. Wyman won the chase to score, convert and make it 3-18. The same two players combined to create Harrogate’s next try in the right corner. They were momentarily held up but Danny Matthews capped a fine scrum half performance by being in support to score. Wyman’s touchline conversion made it 3-25 and, for the remaining few minutes, Harrogate strove for a fourth bonus point try.
A Boyde attacking burst produced good ball and Barnard again raced to gather an attacking chip to touch down but again was judged to have been in front of the kicker. In the dying moments, Harrogate centre Ewan Miller was yellow carded for a deliberate knock on. It was an unfortunate instinctive reaction but, under current laws, the decision was unarguable. However, an earlier identical Kendal offence had gone unpunished.
Kendal: Noyo, Hetherington, Mercer, Butler, Charlton, Park, Kaye, Musetti, Collinson, Irving, Hayton, McKay, Nelson, Chettleburgh, Downham. Subs:- Ridley, Tuala, Carruthers
Harrogate: Rosillo, Lawson, Wyman, Miller, Jukes, Riddell, Matthews, Driscoll, Yorke, Maycock, Brady, Boyde, Millington, Dodds, Heaton. Subs:- Bland, Young, Barnard
Referee: Matt Riley (Northern)
Match report by Bill Barrack