On Saturday January 26th our side travelled into Cumbria to take on Kirkby Lonsdale RUFC where they were given a typical Cumbrian welcome – it rained very hard for all but ten minutes of the game, but our boys proved equal to the task and came away with a 28-3 victory which also included the winning bonus point as they scored four converted tries.
After Hull had scored a brilliant early try from Steve Hihetah, who ran fifty yards through the heart of the KLon defence, the rain became very heavy and it was evident that running rugby was going to be at a premium. Our forwards took over proceedings and against a very determined home pack they gained dominance with three further tries, all scored from close range by Tom O’Donnell. Simon Humberstone converted all four tries and his skilful game management came to the fore in the wet conditions. Press Officer Richard Gore said ‘After two easy wins we needed a hard game and this is what we got’.
Elsewhere in the division third-placed Blaydon hammered Sandal by 62-9; Ilkley continued their strong home form with a comfortable 20-3 home win over Rossendale; Kendal made a quick recovery from their heavy defeat at Hull the previous week when they beat fellow-strugglers Lymm 11-10 in a nail-biter at Mint Bridge and today’s visitors lost at home to Alnwick by 24-7. The bottom of the table side Wilmslow were no match for a rampant visiting Harrogate side who posted a 54-5 victory while the surprise of the day was at Wirral, where the home side beat second-place Billingham by 27-10.
These results have made very little difference to the placings although at the top Blaydon have moved back into second place at the expense of Billingham who are now third again. Hull lead the table by a massive 18 points over Blaydon who are on 65 points with Billingham on 64, just four ahead of fourth-placed Harrogate what are on 60. In the nether regions Wilmslow are bottom with 10 points, Vale of Lune have 24 points, Kendal are on 26, four behind Lymm who are on 30.
Wilmslow look as if they are destined to return from whence they came but the other three look set for a hard relegation battle to avoid filling the other two drop spots. Kirkby Lonsdale on 38 points could also be dragged into it too if they are not careful.
The 89-0 win over Kendal on January 19th was notable for the fact that three new club records were broken during the course of the game. Keane Naylor, who has only played in seven of our games this season, ran in seven tries to create a new record, beating the five held by Mateo Malupo in 2008-09 and Steve Hihetah in 2017-18. His 35 points also broke the record of 30 set up by David Prescott in 1997-98.
Simon Humberstone, who converted twelve of the thirteen tries scored, beat the previous record of eleven by former skipper James Cameron in 2010-11.
Congratulations to both players.
If, as expected, Joe Stafford plays in today’s game he will equal the record of 44 consecutive appearances presently held by Kris Fullman. Well done Joe, a No8 who leads from the front.