Liverpool St Helens suffered a heavy defeat at Kirkby Lonsdale in this North One West clash. Although once again forced to travel with a weakened side this can be no excuse for such a poor performance, particularly in the first half. It is only small comfort that “that’s the best we’ve played in ages” were the words most commonly heard amongst the sizeable and loyal local support.
Things started to go badly for the Moss Laners straight from the kick off when the home sides’ first attack was run down the left flank for an unchallenged score. This was followed by two more tries, both run in from some distance with 15 minutes on the clock, to give Kirkby a 19-0 lead.
LSH tried hard to re-organise but any respite was short lived before an incredible seventeen minute period before half time which brought six KIrkby Lonsdale tries. With full back Jake Hodson resembling Michael Caine in the film Zulu as the hordes of Cumbrians came charging at him, Kirkby reached half time with a 53-0 lead.
Two more tries followed in the ten minutes after the break to make it 63-0 before LSH, now playing with a goodish breeze at their backs, produced a fighting twenty minute spell. James Laycock, in his first senior league game at scrum half, manufactured a decent chip over the Kirkby defence and with a fortunate bounce followed up to score neatly under the posts. Greg Smith converted and five minutes later the fly half finished off a fine break from Neil Hull to score LSH’s second try to make it 63-12.
The home side, appropriately, had the last say however, registering their twelfth try as the young referee, who had a fine game, mercifully brought proceedings to a close.
The Kirkby Lonsdale try scorers were: Sam Latu (3), Dave Barton (2), Martin Knapton, Ben Walker, Tom Pickthall, Tim Groves, Matt Hughes, Stuart Storey, Ryan Terry.
As the bus made its way out of the picturesque setting of Underley Park and their excellent and ever friendly hosts, there was perhaps no better message or incentive for the LSH players, as they now face a tough battle for survival, than to fight to make sure they return there next year. Next game is on Saturday 22 March at home to Leigh. KO 3pm.