KENILWORTH RUGBY FOOTBALL CLUB
On a mild day, in ideal rugby conditions Kenilworth put their longstanding unbeaten home record on the line against Dudley K’s, also unbeaten this season. Cheered on by former players offering their wisdom and advice this was an excellent game of rugby, well refereed and played in good spirit, writes Gary Stephens.
Dudley kicked off and following early exchanges where both sides had a period of possession it was Kenilworth who started to exert control. The front row forwards of Jake Dodd, Luke Truslove and David Bromfield were evident in the loose, ably supported by Tondi Mpambawashe and Connor Burnet in the second row.
On 6 minutes a high tackle by Dudley on halfway saw Gareth Renowden take a quick tap and scampered into the DK’s half. Mikkel Andresen took the pass from Gareth Renowden and he in turn fed the ball inside to Sam Harrison who scored by the posts. Will Davies converted to make it 7-0.
Kenilworth failed to clear from the ensuing kick-off and Dudley K’s put pressure on the Kenilworth defence. A penalty saw Dudley K’s kick for the corner. Resolute defence by Booby Thompson, Mikkel Andresen and Sam Harrison, supported by the rest of the pack set the tone for the afternoon. Kenilworth won turnover at a lineout, followed by a penalty for an infringement on the 22. Both teams had possession, Will Davies and Ed Hannam prominent in taking the ball at the Dudley K’s defence, ably supported by centre Bryn Grantham and winger Jack Scott. After a period of attack and defence Connor Burnet went off to be temporarily replaced by Ryka Sekhavati.
Good defence by Kenilworth was rewarded with a turnover on halfway and the Dudley K’s fly half was yellow carded for a deliberate knock-on. Good defence by both sides saw Dudley K’s kick to Kenilworth 22 and from the ensuring lineout judged not straight Kenilworth cleared again with Connor Burnet returning to the fray.
Having cleared from defence Kenilworth worked it right with Garrett Bell took the ball at pace. As he was tackled, he flicked it on to Ed Hannam who cruised down the right-hand touchline to make it 12-0 to Kenilworth, the conversion being missed.
At the restart Kenilworth exited well and ball was taken to halfway. During good pressure by Dudley K’s they broke through the Kenilworth defence, Will Davies chased back with an excellent tackle, tidied up by Gareth Renowden who cleared to half way. Dudley K’s continued to pressure Kenilworth and turned over the ball on at a scrum, releasing their back line. The ball went out to the Dudley K’s fullback who stepped inside to score and converted his own try to make it 12-7.
Dudley K’s exited well at the restart and began to win ball at the scrum on halfway and as the half drew to a close Dudley K’s kicked to the corner following a penalty. Kenilworth managed to clear but Dudley K kicked to the corner again in open play, Garret Bell diving to keep the ball in play and clear near his own line to end the first half.
Dudley K’s were more precise after halftime and good at keeping possession. Following interplay between forwards and backs Dudley K’s drove to within 5 metres of the Kenilworth line and only resolute defence by forwards and backs kept Dudley K’s out. Dudley K’s ignored a kick option, following a penalty and continued with attacking scrums, which were becoming more dominant. Yet again K’s defence was resolute and eventually, on 50 minutes Kenilworth held up a maul and a miss kick by Will Davies was knocked on by Dudley K’s on the Kenilworth 22, relieving pressure.
Yet again Dudley K’s won the ball at the lineout and went to the corner. Great defence by the pack, which now included Ryka Sekhavati, kept out Dudley K’s and its was that defence which secured a penalty following holding on by Dudley K’s. In a critical period of the match, some 15 minutes, it was excellent defence by Kenilworth which had denied Dudley K’s any points from time spent in the Kenilworth 22.
Kenilworth cleared to halfway and won a scrum, taking the ball into the Dudley K’s half. Good ball retention saw the ball go through the forwards and backs, with the point of attack taking the ball into the Dudley K’s half. Eventually Dudley K’s gave a penalty away and a quick tap by Gareth Renowden saw him brought down near the line. The ball was recycled and Mikkel Andresen touched down at the base of the post to make it 17-07, successfully converted by Will Davies.
At the kick-off the ball was cleared to halfway and following a knock-on there was more pressure on the Kenilworth line. Yet again resolute defence saw Kenilworth win a penalty and take play into the Dudley K’s half. Kenilworth continued to increase pressure on the Dudley K’s line, moving the ball left and right and after good driving to the line, it is captain Bobby Thompson who went over for the bonus point try. The try was converted by Will Davies, making the score 26-07.
At the resultant restart DK’s won a penalty and kicked to the corner. The ball went loose on the Kenilworth 22 and Dudley K’s were awarded a penalty. The ball was driven to the Kenilworth line and held up. From the ensuing scrum on the 5 metres line Kenilworth defended well but Dudley K’s retained the ball after a kick through to halfway. More pressure from Dudley K’s saw them go wide and bring the ball back to midfield. A kick to the corner was gathered by the Dudley K’s winger who scored in the corner, 26-12, the conversion being missed.
Following a few choice words under the posts by Dave Ellis Kenilworth defended well for the remaining 10 mins, with Dan Sibley coming onto the right wing. Following a kick through by Dudley K’s it was Garrett Bell who gathered and sent a great touch finder into the Dudley K’s 22. In the last 10 minutes play was centred around halfway, Harry Abell came on at hooker and it was Kenilworth eventually relieving pressure when a penalty was awarded against Dudley K’s for constant appealing. Kenilworth retained the ball and took the ball into the Dudley K’s half, kicking to touch for the final whistle.
There is no doubt this game was won in the 15-minute period after halftime when Kenilworth defended so resolutely and as the momentum changed Kenilworth turned defence into attack to secure all the points and deny Dudley K’s anything from the game. Every player representing Kenilworth can be proud they put good tackles in and kept their calm, eventually rewarded with some good team tries.
Next week Kenilworth travel to 3rd placed Hereford in what is always a tough game.