Two tries for ex-Eden player as 3,000 watch Kendal test Exiles

Date: Saturday 16th January 1999

FORMER Upper Eden player Colin Wolstenholme scored two tries for Kendal as they almost pulled off a shock third round Tetley Bitter Cup victory over Allied Dunbar Premiership 1 side London Scottish.

FORMER Upper Eden player Colin Wolstenholme scored two tries for Kendal as they almost pulled off a shock third round Tetley Bitter Cup victory over Allied Dunbar Premiership 1 side London Scottish.

A crowd of about 3,000 watched the Jewson League Two North team lose 25-20 in a superb performance at Mint Bridge.

Kendal, whose forwards’ coach is Penrith Grammar School PE teacher Pete Kremer, scored four tries to London’s three and could have snatched victory in the dying minutes when their New Zealander Casey Mee was held up on the line.

“The whole occasion, both on and off the field, went better than anybody could have expected, but in the end we are disappointed not to still be in the competition,” said Kremer.

“We would never have dreamed of running them so close. I thought the days of giant-killing acts were gone with the advent of the professional game making the gulf so vast.

“As it was, by half-time we had the feeling that as long as we were in touch with 20 minutes remaining, our adrenalin and motivation could see us through. However, if we weren’t in touch at that stage, it could have all gone horribly pear-shaped.

“We kept up our level of commitment throughout which was unbelievable and I was amazed to see how quickly they got rattled. We had two or three game plans worked out depending on the conditions and the side they picked, and the plan we chose was executed superbly.

“If Casey (Mee) had grounded the ball at the end we could have been in the draw for the next round and going to Harlequins, but it would have been a shame to spoil the day with ‘if onlys’.

“I wanted it to be more than Cumbrian grit and it was. Technically, I thought we matched, and even surpassed, London. I am very proud of the town, the club and the players,” added Kremer.

He said the Kendal club has sold 1,800 tickets before the game, but hoped a few more would turn out if it was a bright day.

“I thought we would get about 2,500, but we reckon there were more than 3,000. The town turned out in force, but there were others who came from all over Cumbria — the support was excellent. It was quite an emotional day,” he added.

Casey Mee had given Kendal an early lead with a try but by half-time the visitors were leading 17-5 with tries from Magnus McDonald and Simon Forrest. South African Jannie de Beer converted both and added a penalty.

Steven Whitehead touched down for Kendal’s second and de Beer kicked another penalty before Guy Manson-Bishop was awarded a controversial try.

However, Kendal fought back with flanker Wolstenholme scoring a try in the 68th and 75th minute to set up a thrilling finish.

Also included in the Kendal squad were Cumbria scrum half Jimmy Thompson, a former Upper Eden player; hooker Ian Gowing, also an ex-Pennine Park man; tight head prop Ian Thompson, a former Penrith Grammar School student; and Keith Robinson, also from Penrith.

London Scottish captain was former Cockermouth flanker Simon Holmes.

Exiles’ assistant coach Alan Zondagh said Kendal deserved to win. “We played into their hands and did not make them work around the pitch. We should have tried to break the play up.”