Kirkby Lonsdale held on to beat Rossendale 25-22 at Underley Park on Saturday, but they were made to work hard for the victory as the visitors came close to a remarkable comeback.
After leading 25-7 with 39 minutes to play, Kirkby seemed to be heading for a straightforward victory, but Rossendale fired back and got to within three points going into injury time.
Kirkby applied the early pressure and a long range penalty across the wind was just wide after five minutes but stand off Mike Fearon made no mistake with a second penalty a few minutes later to put Kirkby ahead 3-0 with six minutes played.
On 14 minutes, Rossendale had a sitter of a penalty in front of the posts but managed to miss it and as the first quarter drew to a close it had been mainly all Kirkby.
Kirkby went further ahead courtesy of a long range solo try from Scott Armstrong, who took a pass just inside his own half in midfield and ran a looping run through Dale with a series of side steps, hand offs and dummies to score by the posts.
Dale did get hands on him but they couldn’t stop him and Fearon tapped over the conversion to make it 10-0.
A second successful penalty by Fearon, this time from the twenty two line, made it 13-0 on the half hour before Dale finally got on the board with a try.
On the attack, Dale stand off Lewis Allen flighted a clever kick over the defence and into space for his right winger to catch and run in behind the posts, the conversion taking the score to 13-7.
As the half drew to a close Dale sought to close the gap further before their skipper and No.8 Dominic Moon picked up a yellow card.
In time added, following an injury to Dale’s Allen, it was Armstrong again with an almost carbon copy run of pace and power which brought him his second individual try, the conversion skimmed the wrong side of the upright but on the whistle Kirkby had extended their lead to 18-7.
Kirkby made the perfect start to the second half whenscrum half Ben Walker and Fearon were involved in a switch move down the short side which took the ball to Armstrong some 30 metres from the line.
There were plenty of defenders in his way but they could not hold him and he went over for his hat-trick, Fearon again adding the conversion to make the score 25-7 with only one second half minute on the clock.
There was a shift in momentum from here though, as Kirkby lost James Fishwick and Stu Storey during the second half due to yellow cards, leaving them with 14 players for 20 minutes of the second half.
On the half hour, Dale crossed for an unconverted try to make it 25-2 and six minutes later they closed the gap further to 25-7 with another unconverted try as full time approached.
Kirkby were digging deep but conceded yet another unconverted try as the game went into time added on with the score 25-22.
Dale attemped a quick drop kick conversion from wide out just to get the game restarted.
The faithful were hanging on to each other for support as extra time dragged on and there was jubilation and relief when the whistle finally went.