17 October 2016
1st XV vs Abingdon 14/10/16
After an early exchange of penalties by Abingdon full back Patrick Leggett and Kirkham fly half Kieran Wilkinson, it was the Lancashire side that gained the advantage. After driving by the forwards had taken play to the Abingdon 22, left wing Tom Carlton wriggled through in midfield before offloading to open side flaker Teddy Leatherbarrow who forced his way over the line, Wilkinson converting from in front of the posts. Although the strength of the Kirkham forwards was further demonstrated by strong running from prop Matt Woodward and No 8 Sam Dugdale, it was Abingdon who looked the more likely to score next, taking play into the Kirkham 22 on the left. Despite a succession of penalties, Abingdon were forced to settle for a further three points from the boot of Leggett, to which Wilkinson soon responded after a side entry at a ruck. With their two tall second row forwards, Tom Haynes (captain on the day) and Charlie Sheppard, the Abingdon lineout was strong throughout, and having secured possession the ball was moved through the hands and the defence caught offside, enabling Leggett to narrow the gap from the tee to four points at the interval. The home side soon set about reducing the deficit after half-time, with pressure in the Kirkham 22, and further accumulation of penalty infringements saw Mr Rose show yellow to Kirkham second row Ewan Naylor. With the man advantage and camped in the slightly sloping last quarter of the pitch, Abingdon began a lengthy period of pressure on the Kirkham line. Inside centre Dave Telling found a good line to break through but was stopped just short. With Naylor still in the bin, replacement Conor James came into the second row and full back Nathan Pope also joined the set scrum on the blind side. Despite these reinforcements, with the pitch cutting up badly, the Kirkham scrum was forced to give ground and it seemed for a moment that the Abingdon No 8 had picked up and scored, but the ball had been knocked forward. A second Kirkham scrum was again under severe pressure, but the ball was scrambled to Wilkinson who got away the clearance kick. The pressure on the Kirkham line was not over however, and a sensational Abingdon kick to the right corner saw the ball roll into touch on the 1m line. Although Naylor returned for the ensuing line-out, it was the excellent Haynes who stole the Kirkham throw, and a try continued to seem likely for the home side, but they were ultimately forced to settle for a fourth Leggett penalty after the defence had been caught offside. Although the gap was now down to a single point, it must have seemed to Kirkham as it they had scored, given the Abingdon dominance since the interval, and a change in momentum inevitably followed. Although Abingdon again won a penalty, touch was missed and Wilkinson was able to clear. From the run back of his kick, Leatherbarrow was dynamic at the breakdown and forced a penalty, kicked to touch. From the lineout, Naylor fed inside centre Connor Doherty who drew the defence before offloading to replacement Matt Gallagher, who sliced through in midfield before finding Carlton out wide, and the left wing squeezed in to score in the corner. Momentum was now with the visitors and, although Haynes continued to dominate the lineout, the Kirkham backs were starting to find openings. After pressure down the left, Carlton again came close and when the ball was recycled into midfield Wilkinson found outside centre and captain, Aaron Reed who went in under the posts, Wilkinson converting. Salt was rubbed into the wounds, as there was just time for Reed to show his pace, taking a superb line to break through the defence and run in from half way for another converted try. The score-line might suggest a comfortable victory for Kirkham but that was absolutely not the case. This was one of the more exciting school games that I have seen this term, played in excellent conditions and in front of a vocal set of supporters from both sides.
2nd XV vs Audenshaw 1st XV 15/10/16
This was, on paper, a potentially difficult game for the 2nd XV against a school 1st XV who had tasted success lower down the school. Audenshaw started the brighter after Kirkham failed to clear their lines following missed tackles, wave after wave of pressure came from the home team which eventually ended in a score wide out. Kirkham hit back immediately after a loose kick landed into the hands of debutant Evan Powell who jinked and then sprinted in from 70 metres for a wonderful individual try, Dewhurst converting. Kirkham, after this early warning shot form Audenshaw, then got a hold of the game as they enjoyed much more possession. Andrew Bullman, in trademark fashion, scored after being put away on the left and then cut back inside to score. By now Kirkham were making many metres from kick offs after Alfie Topping secured good ball. There were two further tries in the first half from Cameron, scoring for the third game running and Josh Moreau who apart from his try looked solid in defence. The second half, with injuries affecting the squad, allowed Kirkham to use their bench who all made an impact allowing Kirkham to pull further away. Alex Clayton and Kieran Butler burrowing like a mole from close range, touched down for Kirkham`s last two tries out of six. Harley Dewhurst, Evan Powell (2) and Matthew Ashcroft all added conversions giving Kirkham a resounding victory away from home.
U15 vs Audenshaw U15 15/10/16
The U15s were eager to continue where they left off in there good performance earlier in the week. Once again it was No. 8 Max Bailey making the hard yards and tight head prop Lewis Martin gave Kirkham a solid platform in the scrum. Olly Mills was first on the score sheet again with a try down the right wing. Next to score was left wing Archie Cooper who finished off some accurate handling from the KGS backline. Audenshaw competed well and their direct approach was effective for them keeping them in the game. The score at half time was 12-10 to KGS. Kirkham worked hard in defence with Angus Wheeler and Jonty Cope leading the way with some text book tackling. Cooper got his second try early in the second half with a magnificent length of the field run. Kirkham finished off with a try from right wing Olly Barnett in what was the U15s performance of the season to date. Final score Kirkham 22-20 Audenshaw.
U14 vs Audenshaw U14 15/10/16
Kirkham started the match against Audenshaw well, they immediately established a dominance over a spirited Audenshaw team. KGS were in fact 38-7 up by half time. KGS made several changes during the break and the game was more even in the second half although KGS still held the edge. It was pleasing to see such a positive performance from a squad with seven starting players missing. 26 players have now represented the ‘A’ XV which is extremely positive for the whole squad.
U13 vs Audenshaw U13 15/10/16
Kirkham U13’s played Audenshaw this weekend in a fixture which was dominated by the home side. Superb performances from Parkinson, Merrick and Pope in the first half led to several try scoring opportunities, many of which were capitalised upon. The Kirkham outfit had made several improvements at the breakdown and their rucking and counter rucking was exemplary in the earlier stages of the game. The KGS efforts at the breakdown allowed for the side to play the patterns they have practised in training, with McNamee and Crompton pulling the strings in the half back positions. With a significant lead at half time, the Kirkham side made several changes and the replacements continued in the same fashion as the first half, but the Audenshaw side were tenacious in their efforts and made KGS work for their points. Slick handling in the back line and several turnovers at the scrum led to tries from Merrick and Adjetey to finish off an excellent display in their final game before the Dublin Tour next week.
U12 vs Audenshaw U12 15/10/16
The u12s dominated a much bigger Audenshaw side from the outset, playing on their 4g pitch suited Kirkham’s style of play perfectly. Performing the basics well Kirkham crossed the white wash at regular intervals. Archie Dowds and Charlie Read lead from the front with some darting runs supported well by the rest of the team. It was pleasing to see the boys transferring the skills they've learnt in training into a match so successfully.