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Bees triumph but miss out on bonus point
Bradford & Bingley 21, Kendal 10
Despite the freezing conditions, both sides did their best to play some open, running rugby in this SSE National League Three North clash, and for the most part put on an entertaining show for the Wagon Lane crowd.
The ebb and flow of the game was frequently interrupted by the referee’s whistle, who seemed keen to show that he was capable of awarding a free-kick or penalty for every nuance in the laws of the game rather than empathising with players who were already hampered by the near zero temperatures.
Bradford & Bingley failed to claim a winning bonus point and should really have doubled their score as a number of chances went begging once they began to open up the Kendal defence.
The visitors had the better of the opening exchanges and looked a far better side than their league position might suggest.
With Ryan Wederell in the sin bin for a technical offence in the third minute, the Bees were definitely out of sorts as the Kendal pack drove for the left-hand corner, flanker Garry Holmes dotting down for the five points.
The visitors then put together the move of the match in the ninth minute as they attacked from deep in their own 22 and charged up the left flank, and full back Daniel Lowther was on hand to finish off the move as Kendal took a 10-0 lead.
The Bees regrouped and began to make their own incursions into enemy territory, with flanker Chris Fisher prominent in a number of charges upfield. Richard Tafa also began to exert his influence up the middle.
Bees skipper Guy Ford then took the ball on himself, rather than putting a team-mate over for the score, and hooker James Brown failed to hang on to a pass with the line at his mercy.
Ford then made amends for his mistake, ploughing over to the left of the posts after a fine break from Richard Scull had opened up the Kendal defence.
The Bees were now clearly in the ascendancy and a superb kick for the corner from Tafa was gathered by winger Matt Robinson, who just had a foot in touch as he dotted down.
Scull slotted a penalty to bring the Bees within two points, and in the second half they continued in the ascendancy, but it took a full 18 minutes before the advantage was turned into points as Scull slotted a second penalty.
With the Bradford & Bingley pack starting to shunt the Kendal eight around, Ford claimed a second try from close range on 64 minutes.
It appeared that the floodgates might open as the Bees were now playing some neat rugby across their backs, as well as enjoying domination up front.
Fisher and Tafa both made telling runs into the Kendal defence before James Morton arrowed through from right to left to outpace and outmuscle Kendal defenders to score out wide on 68 minutes.
However, after the score Kendal knuckled down to their defensive duties and also upped the ante in attack and were unlucky not to manage a score as they ran the ball deep into the Bees defence.
Perhaps their reliance on their big men going up the middle was their undoing as they manufactured an overlap several times but chose to keep the point of attack in midfield.