Kenilworth Rugby Club

Kenilworth remain eight points clear with victory over gutsy Southam

Kenilworth were made to work hard by a very competitive, gutsy and workman-like Southam side before gaining ascendancy to secure a 39-6 win, writes Bruce Doe.

The result was their 16th league win of the season to keep them eight points clear at the top of Midlands 2 West (South).

By the time the game kicked off there was a strong and developing breeze blowing down the length of the pitch into the faces of the home side. It soon became clear that Southam sought that as an advantage by putting up a considerable number of towering kicks, mostly from the boot of Southam player/coach and full back Jon Lowden for his side to chase and harry Kenilworth. 

Kenilworth proved to be strong under the high ball however, but had some difficulty initially making meaningful inroads into the opposition 22. This was mainly due to Southam’s effectiveness in the chase and their intent to spoil and prevent Kenilworth getting quick ball away.

The first 15 minutes of the game was spent mostly in the middle of the pitch and while Kenilworth were seeing most of the ball, any real advancement towards the Southam line was being thwarted by the hard working away side. In fact, it was Southam who got the first points on the board when a penalty within kicking distance of the posts was successfully converted.

Kenilworth then made their first real incursion into the opposition 22 and from a subsequent scrum five metres out, which put Southam under all sorts of pressure on their line and the referee awarded a penalty try. With a conversion not required, Kenilworth took a 7-3 lead.

To their credit, Southam went straight back at Kenilworth making good use of the wind. Their efforts saw them secure a penalty in the Kenilworth 22 and the kick from in front of the posts was successful to bring Southam to within one point of the home side. That was to be the last points that Southam would score and the last time that they spent any real time in the Kenilworth 22.

After a period of time where play seemed to be concentrated in the middle of the park, Mikkel Andresen took it upon himself to make some progress towards the Southam try line by embarking upon a ‘bullocking’ and arcing run. He swotted away a number of would be tacklers only to eventually be brought down five yards out. Unfortunately, with support limited, Kenilworth were unable to take further advantage of Andresen’s progress. However, a subsequent penalty kick to the corner resulted in a catch and drive which the forwards drove over the Southam line for their second try as Tom Naismith touched down. With the conversion missed, Kenilworth went into half time 12-6 up.

With the wind and a talking to from coach Dave Ellis behind them, Kenilworth started the second half with real intent. Good work on the left by both forwards and backs saw winger Ollie Burman go over in the corner. The difficult conversion was missed by Ed Hannam but Kenilworth's lead increased to 17-6.

Kenilworth continued to take the game to Southam and, soon after, the provision of good ball from the forwards saw Bobby Thompson make good ground before feeding Charlie Stevens who made similar in roads towards the Southam try line. The ball then made its way to Hannam who went over out wide for an excellent team try. With the score unconverted, Kenilworth moved steadily on to take a 22-6 lead.

It was then Kenilworth’s turn to make use of the wind with fly half Alex Selby making good ground to help peg Southam back to near their own line. By now, Kenilworth were camped in the Southam 22 and from a messy opposition line out ball, scrum half Gareth Renowden superbly picked up the bobbling ball. It then found its way to centre Charlie Stevens who fed Hannam who made good ground to go in under the posts for his second. With the try converted by Hannam himself, Kenilworth stretched their lead to 29-6.

With Kenilworth now looking to attack from deep, Southam continued to work hard and close down the hosts by moving the home side back into their own half. The respite was brief, however, as the ball was moved out to the right wing. There, Rhys Jones ran out and then straightened up to feed Renowden who smartly touched down just inside the corner flag. With the difficult conversion missed, Kenilworth increased their lead to 34-6.

Kenilworth’s final try was to come from a scrum set piece on the Southam 22 when number eight and skipper Thompson picked and carried down the blind side. He subsequently fed Renowden who timed his pass to Josh Emery perfectly for the late replacement to touch down out wide with his one and only touch of the ball. With another difficult conversion missed Kenilworth finished the match as 39-6 winners.

This was another bonus point win for Kenilworth, with close rivals Kidderminster visiting Glasshouse Lane this Saturday. This match is the first in a series of standout games that will go a long way to defining the outcome of Kenilworth’s season. 

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