Kirkby Lonsdale impressively beat second place Blaydon 31-25 at Underley Park on Saturday in what was a superb game of rugby.
The home side took the lead when a penalty was put into touch in the right corner and the forwards pressed from the catch and drive.
Blaydon initially held the drive but were undone by Kirkby scrum-half Ben Walker who dummied a pass, created a gap and was over by the posts for try number one,
Ryan Terry was on target with the conversion to make it 7-0 after four minutes.
Five minutes later and Kirkby added a second try, a loop move and run round from skipper and stand-off Dave Barton created the extra man and gave right wing Andrew Bargh the opportunity to skin the last defender and go over in the corner for try two.
Terry was on target with the touchline conversion and Kirkby were ahead 14-0 inside the first 10 minutes.
Blaydon got a chance to hit back, putting a penalty into touch down the right and about ten metres from the Kirkby line.
Their lineout was good and after a few phases of possession the try came, converted to put them on the board at 14-7 and Blaydon then slotted a penalty to make it 14-10 at the end of the first quarter.
However, despite having a man shown a yellow card, Kirkby’s number eight Harlan Corrie blasted through towards the line. He was engulfed by tacklers but somehow got an amazing offload away to hooker Dan Armistead who caught brilliantly and sprinted the last two metres to score try three by the posts, Terry converting again to extend Kirkby’s lead to 21-10 as the half hour came up.
Blaydon narrowed the gap to 21-13 with a penalty but saw Kirkby’s lead extended again when some slick handling in the home half moved the ball at speed down the line to left wing Harry Huddleston. With a jink and a step he was away down the touchline, outpacing the cover to cross by the corner flag, running towards the posts to create a better kicking angle and score the bonus point fourth try.
Terry obliged with the conversion and Kirkby had a handy lead at 28-13 as half-time approached, but there was time for Kirkby to score again. Blaydon didn’t roll away from a tackle and Terry nailed the penalty to make it 31-13 when the whistle went. Blaydon came roaring back in the second half though and after Kirkby’s Armistead had been shown a yellow card, the visitors scored to make it 31-18.
Kirkby were made to dig deep and their cause was made more difficult when captain Dave Barton had to leave the field due to injury.
However, Blaydon did not score again in the second half until the first minute of injury time, a converted try to make it 31-25 at full-time.