Kirby Lonsdale 19, Lymm 13
Lymm are a side continually in contention in the Northern Premier League and Kirkby Lonsdale knew there was a tough task in hand as they kicked off towards the town but they had the dream start in the second minute.
The visitors looked to run the ball out but Kirkby skipper Dave Barton intercepted a Lymm pass some 30m from the line and skinned the defence to run in under the posts, Tom Pickthall tapped over the conversion and it was 7-0.
New boy at hooker, Tom Burtonwood, on loan from Fylde announced his presence with a long and penetrating run into the Lymm 22.
This gave Kirkby a period of possession in a good attacking position, but they didn’t profit and when play swung back Lymm’s way they were rewarded with a penalty which their full back Cormac Nolan kicked to put the visitors on the board at 7-3 with 15 minutes played.
If skipper Barton’s first try was good it had nothing on his second one, a contender for try of the season when the maestro ran through Lymm from the half-way line, breaking some tackles and stepping other defenders. A run of sheer class executed with power, skill, intuition, determination and some pace to score by the posts, Pickthall again adding the two points to extend Kirkby’s lead to 14-3 with 25 minutes on the clock
The game became pretty physical as Lymm sought to impose themselves and on the half hour, Kirkby hooker Burtonwood’s enthusiasm got the better of him and he was sent to the sin bin.
However, Kirkby were able to play the 10 minutes out without conceding a score and were restored to full strength as the first half went into time added on with Lymm on the attack near the Kirkby line.
A blatant take out of a Kirkby player off the ball created a gap which Lymm’s Oli Higginson ran through to score the visitors’ first try, the conversion was wide but the gap had narrowed to 14-8 when the whistle went.
At the start of the second half, Lymm were pressing near the Kirkby line and the hosts found themselves a man down again when winger Harry Huddleston was adjudged to have deliberately knocked on in the red zone. With the man advantage and field position, Lymm were able to maintain the pressure and got a drive going which saw the pack go over near the right corner flag for the visitors’ second try.
The third quarter was drawing to a close with Kirkby in a period of possession near the Lymm line, several thrusts and backs moves were held by Lymm and it looked as though no score would come but Kirkby regrouped again and got prop Dan Thompson over for the third try.
Although with the conversion missed there was still only one score in it at 19-13 with 20 tense minutes to play. Lymm suffered a setback when their No.8 Higginson was forced off with an injury and both sides had chances as the clock ran down, but despite the best efforts of both sides there were no further scores and Kirkby ran out 19-13 winners of an enthralling and exciting game.
Another good all round team performance in which Harry Ralston would have been relieved to be playing in only one position and a victory which consolidates Kirkby in mid table as they head to a tough away fixture at third placed Harrogate next Saturday.