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Bradford & Bingley must digest lessons before visit of Harrogate
Kendal 39, Bradford & Bingley 32
Bradford & Bingley returned from Kendal with two league points which was enough to lift them out of the bottom three of SSE National League Three North yesterday.
However, they face a very tough looking fixture next week when they entertain high-fliers Harrogate, and a repeat of the tactical naivety and poor decision-making shown against Kendal cannot be tolerated if the Bees are to have any hope of taking anything from the visitors.
The Wagon Lane men began brightly enough and were two scores in front with ten minutes as Richard Tafa and Tom Bills got on the scoresheet.
From the earliest exchanges it appeared as if the Bees looked far more dangerous spinning the ball away from the close exchanges, where Kendal looked to have the upper hand each time the game became a tussle up front.
This was very much in evidence on 20 minutes as the Kendal pack got their hands on the ball and set off on a slow trundle towards the whitewash.
The Bees did not commit enough bodies to the maul and the bigger pack prevailed, with prop Richard Harriman falling over the line for the five points, and the conversion was duly added by centre Daniel Lowther to close the gap to three.
Lowther was calling for his kicking tee again within four minutes as wingman Alistair Thompson was able to get to the line after the Bees defence became misaligned.
After a Lowther penalty had extended the Kendal lead to five points on 29 minutes, within a minute the visitors had pulled level as skipper Guy Ford barged over.
Ten minutes later, Bradford & Bingley guaranteed a bonus point as second-rower Adam Malthouse got his name on the scoresheet for the first time in Bees colours.
With Bills landing his first successful kick of the afternoon, the sides turned round at 22-15 to the visitors.
It seemed that if the Bees could keep the game high tempo and do the simple things correctly, the game was there for the taking.
For the opening ten minutes of the second half, it appeared that everything was going to plan until the Bees began to play to Kendal's strengths.
A number of wayward kicks went straight to full back Simon Mulholland, who always returned the ball with interest and set up good field position for his forwards to then set up camp in Bees territory.
Bradford & Bingley could not escape from their own half, and whenever they managed to get a hand on the ball it was reclaimed by the Kendal pack.
The pressure would eventually tell, and in a 15-minute period from the 50th minute the home side rattled in 17 unanswered points.
Simon Davison, James Postlethwaite and Duncan Green all claimed five-pointers, with a single conversion from Lowther.
There was now a ten-point gap between the sides but the Bees did not allow the game to run away from them as Tafa crossed for his second and Bills added the conversion and a penalty.
With the sides locked at 32-32 each, the Bees needed a calm head to steer them home.
They also needed to keep the oppposition away from their line but the same pattern of wayward clearances and easy turnovers let Kendal back into Bees territoty.
From one sequence of poor play, the Bees failed to clear their lines and turned over the ball in their 22. Kendal did not need a second invitation and Duncan Green pounced for the winning score.