KENILWORTH RUGBY FOOTBALL CLUB
Kenilworth secured the Midlands 2 West (South) league title with two matches to spare on Saturday with a 39-19 victory over Nuneaton Old Edwardians, writes Peter Jones.
Observers of this season’s Six Nations will attest that a spirited home crowd can boost the best of sides, and so it was on Saturday with Kenilworth getting off to a tremendous start in a crucial league game against fourth-placed Nuneaton Old Edwardians in front of a very big home crowd at Glasshouse Lane.
Kicking off deep into the visitor’s half, pressure forced a penalty from which, within the first five minutes, scrum half Gareth Renowden scored the opening try which was duly converted by Ed Hannam. Hannam, Kenilworth’s kicking-find of the season, then added a penalty to push Kenilworth’s lead to 10-0.
Winger Tom Clayton then scored the try of the match after great build-up work from Ollie Burman and Rhys Jones. A further try from Sam Harrison which was once again converted by Hannam gave Kenilworth a comfortable 22-0 lead at half time.
There are several outstanding features of this splendid side, not least their ability to maintain dominance in territory and possession, and any early attempts by Nuneaton Old Edwardians to get back into the game were rapidly stopped. A further try from Hannam after the break that the centre also converted gave Kenilworth the bonus point, and Tom Clayton added his second score after outstanding hands from Hannam and Burman. A final splendid try from Sam Harrison straight from the restart followed, his second of the game, to complete the Kenilworth scoring.
Nuneaton Old Edwardians, to their credit, did not surrender and came back to narrow the lead to 34-5 and as the Kenilworth substitutes came on in the last 10 minutes. A good Nuneaton Old Edwardians side then deservedly added two further tries to bring the final score to 39-19.
Kenilworth were an impressive force for most of the game. Prop Andy MacKenzie, stood up well in his first 1st XV game in the front row and Harry Abell, David Bromfield, Tondi Mpambawashe and Josh Fox were everywhere. The back row was also outstanding, with the experienced Nick Gerber and Sam Harrison joined by debutant starter Finn Gibson. The 2nd XV’s top scorer Neil Sutherland then joined the fray in the second half for his 1st XV debut. On the wing, Ollie Burman played as if he wanted to take on the whole of Nuneaton Old Edwardians on his own and was man of the match, while Charlie Stevens was his usual belligerent force of nature in midfield.
Kenilworth have now won the Midlands 2 West (South) league and their lead at the top currently stands at 14 points with two games still remaining.
Next week they travel to relegation-threatened Old Coventrians with the final league game of the season seeing second-placed Old Laurentian travel to Glasshouse Lane on Saturday 13th April.
The season doesn’t finish there, however, with Kenilworth facing South Shields Westoe at Glasshouse Lane on Easter Saturday (20th April) in the RFU Intermediate Cup semi final, with a place in the RFU Intermediate Cup final at Twickenham at stake. There is also the matter of a Warwickshire Shield final against local rivals Earlsdon.