SLIDESHOW: Kirkby Lonsdale 17-13 Vale of Lune

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The chariots were certainly swinging low at Underley Park and Twickenham as the hosts in both instances gave their supporters something to cheer and sing about.

This season Kirkby Lonsdale have constructed something of a fortress at Underley Park and against the Vale of Lune they recorded their eighth victory on home soil, with only two defeats to go into the red column of the season’s campaign so far.

Vale of Lune's Ben Charnley wins the ball in front of the Kirkby Lonsdale crowd. Picture: Tony North

Vale of Lune's Ben Charnley wins the ball in front of the Kirkby Lonsdale crowd. Picture: Tony North

In many ways the second meeting of the season could hardly be billed as a classic, play at times was scrappy and riddled with errors, but overall it was a contest full of light and shade underpinned by a liberal coating of local pride with the outcome going right down to the wire.

There were two stand out pieces of pure drama both of which occurred at the end of the respective halves.

The first happened in the 41st minute as the half was drawing to a close with the Vale leading 13-12.

A Vale attack broke down with a misplaced past outside Kirkby’s 22 with former Vale player Sam Chesney-Brown reacting first, speculatively hacking the ball downfield.

Kirkby Lonsdale's Craig Galbraith clears the ball against the Vale of Lune. Picture: Tony North

Kirkby Lonsdale's Craig Galbraith clears the ball against the Vale of Lune. Picture: Tony North

He tore after the ball and gave it a couple more hefty thumps as he claimed an unconverted try and what turned out to be the winning score.

In the 85th minute, Vale’s Nick Royle, whose first half try had equalled Mark Nelson’s more than 20-year-old record for tries in a season of 36, kicked deep into Kirkby’s dead ball area and gave chase down the right flank and claimed the ball convinced he had scored but the referee ruled the ball had scooted over the dead ball line.

After their thrilling, well-engineered victory against Kendal another large Kirkby crowd ringed the pitch and shortly after kick off the home supporters had something to cheer about.

Martyn Knapton hurtled down the left wing and the ball was moved inside to centre Tom Slater who cut back against the grain to score unopposed between the posts with Tom Pickthall adding the conversion in the third minute.

A series of Vale errors when attempting to clear the ball from their 22 featured in the build up to Kirkby’s second try.

While the Vale flapped and flustered, possession was lost in the red zone, winger Matt Belshaw spotted the confusion, grabbed the loose ball to battle his way over in the right-hand corner for an unconverted try.

Twelve points adrift was a worrying situation for the visitors but slowly they began to thread together some purposeful passages of rugby and in the 20th minute concerted forward pressure squeezed a penalty from Kirkby which Jack Turton kicked.

Royle then scored in the right-hand corner in the 27th minute after an accurate crossfield kick from Turton. Nine minutes later Vale edged into the lead with a Turton penalty after Charnley had claimed the ball, not for the first time, at a line out, and Jonty Higgin had blasted his way through the defenders.

Just when the Vale thought they might be mixing up a slender lead with their half-time energy drinks Chesney-Brown struck, or more correctly his boot, to deny the Vale.

Although no points were scored in the second 40 an intriguing game unfolded.

There was no let up in the endeavour, attack and counter attack punctuated the opening 10 minutes but the arrival of Darren Wilson off the replacements bench for his first game since November added another dimension to the Vale’s game.

With Kirkby under pressure penalties were conceded but the Vale opted for scrums rather than taking a pot at goal, however, the Kirkby defence held firm despite being down to 14 players at this stage and captain Matt Hughes’ yellow card.

In the 70th minute scrum half Ben Walker instigated a sweeping Kirkby attack that took play deep into Vale territory but when the ball was dislodged Wilson escaped in a thrilling, but in the end inconsequential, passage of rugby.

With time running out for the visitors the tension and excitement began to build both on the field and the other side of the barriers which climaxed with the chalking off of Royle’s “try”.

The post-match debate was interrupted by events at Twickenham, but the match result card recorded that Kirkby Lonsdale had collected four winning points while the Vale were in receipt of a losing bonus point.

Kirkby Lonsdale: M Knapton, M Belshaw, T Pickthall, T Slater, S Latu, D Barton, B Walker, J Thornson, A Robinson, T Groves, M Hughes (Capt), S Dowker, S Chesney-Brown, S Storey, C Galbraith. Replacements: J Benson, J Whittaker, J Maddock.

Vale of Lune: N Royle, R Ward, O Carter, J Higgin (capt), A Macluskie, J Turton, O Dobson, J Hesketh, J Ferguson, A Cowey, P McLaren-Dorrington, A Foxcroft, B Charnley, D Lin, G Tudor. Replacements: R Pillow, S Foy, D Wilson