Kirkby Lonsdale lost 32-22 away at unbeaten Wirral on Saturday in what was a real test for the Cumbrian side.
Kirkby opened the scoring when Wirral drifted infield to cover a backs move which left space down the blindside line – skipper Ben Walker instinctively attacked and his pace outran the cover for the first try, converted by Agustin Cittadini after only two minutes.
Wirral got on the board with a James Annetts penalty but Kirkby responded when hooker Matt Holyland was first to a clever grubber kick through and he dived on the ball for the second try, Cittadini again successful with the conversion and Kirkby led 14-3 inside the first 10 minutes.
Cittadini extended the lead with a penalty in the 16th minute but Wirral hit back, driving over for a try by the left corner flag from a five-metre scrum to make it 17-8.
Despite some more Kirkby pressure, Wirral broke and scored another try near the posts, the conversion making it 17-5, but Kirkby instantly replied, Harry Huddleston using his pace to score in the corner to extend the lead.
As the half drew to a close David Maka was yellow carded and early in the second half the hosts took advantage of the extra man, making it three tries apiece the conversion levelling the scores at 22-22.
Wirral took the lead for the first time when the ball just bounced away from Kirkby scrum half Walker and into Wirral hands, a pop pass found space and they scored their fourth try, the conversion making it 29-22 at the end of the third quarter.
Wirral edged the balance of the final quarter but they also had a lot of defending to do and as the game drew to a close Kirkby were still within losing bonus point range.
However, Wirral were awarded a penalty just inside the Kirkby half and after a rash comment the referee marched Kirkby back 10 metres – Annett’s deadly boot converted to make the final score 32-22.