- The Cumbrian side have recorded 10 bonus-point wins
- One of six teams in the country with a perfect record this season
The season can’t have started any better for Cumbrian side Kirkby Lonsdale. Ten weeks into the 2016/17 campaign and they have won all 10 of their matches, earning a bonus point in every single game.
It puts them in an elite group. Hartpury, Yeovil, Morganians, Ludlow and Braintree are the only other teams across all the leagues to have recorded bonus-point wins from all of their games so far this season.
And it is exactly the start Kirkby needed as they try and reach National Three North for the first time having lost in the promotion play-off in both 2015 and 2016.
‘Consistency has been the difference’
“Losing in the promotion play-off two seasons in a row was tough but we believe this can be our year,” says Director of Rugby Matt Hughes who has been at the club for 22 years.
Reaching National Three North would be the highest level in the club’s 139-year history and Hughes says consistency in both players and performance has been key to their development.
“We are at a point where we have players in key positions who have been playing together for a long time and that has helped massively.
“Our scrum-half and fly-half have both played in National Two so guys like that know what it takes to be at that level and that drives us all.”
Punching above their weight
With a population of just under 2,000 people, Kirkby have a limited pool of players to draw from and Hughes says injuries have been their undoing in previous seasons.
“Most of our players are from the local village so we are punching well above our weight, injuries are the potential banana skin but we’re not even halfway through the season yet so we are happy with how it has started. “
Their perfect run this season included a 24-21 win away against Northwich who had won 27 successive league matches but for Hughes the clash against Birkenhead Park on 26 November will be their biggest test.
Birkenhead are also unbeaten this season, with eight bonus points, and have a good record against Kirkby at home.
“It’s a massive game for us,” says Hughes. “These are the kind of games we’re going to have to win to become a national league side.”
Although only a few months into the season, Kirkby Lonsdale have already become promotion contenders and will be hoping this campaign is third time lucky.