The home victory against Lymm the previous Saturday was seen by many as Kirkby Lonsdale’s best performance of the season, but they raised the bar again with a convincing 38-26 away win at Harrogate, who were third in the league going into this match.
It was an excellent all round team performance which saw Kirkby destroy the Gate pack and score six tries, two of which were penalty tries.
The pressure told on Harrogate towards the end of the first half when they ran out of props and had to opt for uncontested scrums.
In that circumstance, a Gate player should have left the field until scrums were again contested but they played on with 15 men and scored two converted tries during that period which increased their score by 14 points.
Kirkby left wing Harry Huddleston opened the scoring with a try after five minutes, a typical weaving run. Mike Fearon couldn’t add the conversion but it was a good start.
Things got even better 10 minutes later when right wing Harry Ralston crossed for the second try to make it 10-0, the conversion again going wide of the posts.
Harrogate did hit back with a try towards the end of the first quarter from their No.7 Martin Dodds, converted by centre Nathan Wyman to make it 10-7, but an under the cosh Gate pack conceded a penalty try as the half hour came up, extending Kirkby’s lead to 17-7.
The game then entered the uncontested scrum period where Gate scored two converted tries in the last 10 minutes of the half to put them ahead 21-17 as the half-time whistle went.
Kirkby were first to score in the second period when full back Martin Knapton scorched over for the bonus point fourth try in the tenth minute of the half, Fearon converting to make it 24-21. Kirkby were now rampant and playing some beautiful slick handling rugby.
Dave Maka was prominent going forward and in defence while skipper Dave Barton had a field day at inside centre and Gate were opened up again by Kirkby scrum half Ben Walker with a typical sniping dart through to score try number five. Fearon was again on target with the conversion to extend the lead to 31-21 towards the end of the third quarter.
Try six epitomised the stress the Gate pack were under when they coughed up a second penalty try, taking Kirkby to 38-21, and it was, effectively, game over.
As the clock ran down Harrogate did narrow the gap a little with an unconverted try to make the final score to 38-26 but the day and the honours were Kirkby’s as they moved up to sixth in the league.