Kenilworth Rugby Club

Kenilworth gain a bonus point but fail to take the spoils against Newbold

Kenilworth lost their 3rd league game of the season, all away from home, when losing a close and hard fought encounter 8-13, to old rivals Newbold. As anticipated, the East Warwickshire side were ‘well up’ for the game against their long standing rivals and had clearly done their homework on Kenilworth making transition from defence to attack for the away side extremely difficult. The challenge was compounded by Kenilworth’s failure to manage touch when kicking out of hand, with both penalties and ‘22’ kicks failing to leave the field of play or by kicking directly in to touch when outside the 22.

The shape of the first half was determined very soon after the kick off as Newbold took the game hard to Kenilworth as they picked and drove their way deep into the Kenilworth half. Kenilworth initially defended such forays well and around 5 minutes in flanker Mikkel Andreson quickly got his hands on to the ball to achieve the first turn over of the day and a penalty award to Ken’s. As Kenilworth worked hard to make progress, a kick from within the 22 failed to make touch. The onrushing left winger Ollie Burman over committed as the experienced Newbold scrum half Huw Thomas caught the high kick and immediately stepped outside Burman to make swift progress down the right flank. Just three passes infield saw Newbold breach the Kenilworth defence to touch down near the posts. With the easy conversion achieved, Newbold deservedly led 7 – 0.

Newbold continued to press, mostly through their forwards and through the middle of the park, only moving the ball wider when space was achieved. All in all, Kenilworth’s defence was excellent, particularly on two occasions when Kenilworth thwarted 2 catch and drives. Unfortunately though, we continued to pile pressure upon ourselves by giving away too many penalties. Just as it was felt that parity was being achieved, we somehow invited them back to have another go.

When we did have an opportunity to clear our lines, we failed to make touch or, as happened on two occasions, we kicked a penalty to touch, only then to knock on in the lineout and gift the ball back to Bold. In between time we defended in the tackle well and with wingers Burman and Beckett solid in defence when called upon to do so, with Burman showing again how good he is under a high ball.

With around 35 minutes gone, Kenilworth seemed to be working their way back into the game, achieving some parity in play and possession only to give away a couple more penalties, the latter of which was just inside the Kenilworth half, but in front of the posts. The strong kicking Bold fly half, had no problems making the distance to give the home side a 13 point lead. For the first time in the game, Kenilworth worked their way into Newbold 22. Having gone through a number of phases, Kenilworth were rewarded with a penalty just beyond the 22 but to the right of the posts. Fly Half Callum Armstrong made good contact with the ball but unfortunately it struck the upright to bounce back into play. Newbold reacted more quickly and managed to clear their lines. Soon after, the referee signalled the end of the first half.  All in all, a disappointing first period but a score line that, if we cut out the many mistakes, could be pegged back in the second half.

Kenilworth started the second half with returning Fly Half Alex Selby taking the field in place of Callum Armstrong. Defending initial Newbold drives well, Kenilworth started to move out of their half. They were soon rewarded for their resilience with a penalty. Selby found a good touch inside the home side 22 which Kenilworth took cleanly and drove towards the Bold try line. Newbold however succeeded in holding the ball up thus creating a maul that was going nowhere – resulting in their put in at the scrum and eventually regaining ground to safety.

Kenilworth continued to try and work their way through a number of phases, but just as their supporters felt the side were finally settling down, the ball would be lost, often knocked on. However, Kenilworth persevered and from a lineout on the 22, taken well by Danish flanker Andreson, his fellow forwards drove the ball on before recycling left to go through the hands with centre Jack Scott providing the final pass to Full Back Garret Bell who had joined the line at speed. Bell cut inside and touched down left of the posts. A good team try. Unfortunately the conversion kick was missed but at least Kenilworth had finally opened their account.

Following a period of ‘back and forth’ with neither side really having the ascendency; Kenilworth were awarded a penalty which was kicked to around the home sides 22. With the ball taken cleanly in the line out, Kenilworth drove towards the Newbold line. Halted by the now desperate but effective home defence Kenilworth were awarded a scrum put in, 5 out. Further drives in field were likewise repelled resulting in a scrum down close to the posts. With the ball secured at the feet of the Kenilworth No 8’s feet, the away side again picked and drove at the Newbold line. Eventually strong prop forward Jake Dodd forced his way over and grounded the ball over the Newbold try line only for the static referee, observing play from behind Kenilworth’s back foot, to declare ‘No try’, ball held up and short! It was to be a decision that effectively took the game away from Kenilworth. With Newbold gifted a reprieve and the scrum put in, they succeeded in eventually clearing their lines. The score remaining at 5 – 13.

With time running out Kenilworth eventually got themselves back down the pitch and close to the Newbold line. Following a penalty into the corner, the attempted lineout take was knocked on, sadly, another good attacking platform lost. However, Kenilworth continued to push forward and following a number of unsuccessful drives towards the home side line Newbold were penalised at a scrum down close to the posts. Looking to reduce the ‘two score’ lead and get within Bonus point territory, Armstrong, now back as a replacement for the injured Jack Scott, successfully added 3 points making the score now 8 – 13.

With only a handful of minutes left Kenilworth’s hopes of still grasping a win were lifted when they were awarded with a penalty deep in their own half. A good kick by Selby to touch moved Kenilworth to just beyond the ¾ line in Newbold’s half. Unfortunately the attempted line out take was knocked on. The error easing the situation for the home side. Just a minute or so later, the referee blew up for full time and a close 8 – 13 defeat.

Whilst a losing bonus point was achieved, it was a game that despite the many errors, Kenilworth could have won. However, credit to Newbold who had done their homework on the Glasshouse Lane side, stuck to their plan and worked hard for their victory.

With a break in League rugby next weekend, Kenilworth look to bounce back at home when they host Old Halesonians on Saturday 7th December, kick off 2.15pm.

Bruce Doe

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