KENILWORTH RUGBY FOOTBALL CLUB
Kenilworth arrived at Hartwell Lane one prop short (with Jake Byrne suffering a breakdown) but with Bobby Thompson back to fitness and Jayde Alexander making his debut at number 12. A biting cold wind swept across the field of play but a magnificent 25 – 16 away win warmed the hearts of the travelling supporters with the added bonus of the team returning to 2nd spot in the league, writes Phil Morris.
Stoke kicked off with the wind behind them and within a couple of minutes, profiting from some loose play at the breakdown, scored a converted try to the delight of the sizeable home crowd. 0 – 7.
Kenilworth and Stoke both slotted three penalty points in quick succession with new boy Jayde Alexander unphased by the strong headwind. With the scores now at 3 – 10, Kenilworth piled on some pressure with a good scrum, a quickly taken penalty, a great carry from Jayde Alexander, and a penalty kick to the corner to setup the lineout. Mikkel Andresen powered over the line for a try and Jayde Alexander added the extras to even things up at 10 - 10. Gareth Renowden blocked an attempted quick penalty by Stoke and received a yellow card for the infringement.
Stoke secured another two penalty kicks on goal in the following ten minutes, the second an impressive wind-assisted effort from the half way line. The score line of 10 – 16 was unchanged over the balance of the first half in spite of some good rugby from sides, several penalties, and a satisfyingly dominant Kenilworth scrum performance.
The second half started with Kenilworth’s kick and the majority of play in Stoke’s 22. Kenilworth’s scrum was proving too strong for Stoke and providing an excellent foundation for attack. But the score line remained unchanged for 15 minutes. The stalemate was broken by another great Kenilworth scrum 5 metres out, driving forward and allowing captain Bobby Thompson to score, with Will Davies slotting the extra 2 points and the lead for the first time. 17 – 16.
Kenilworth’s game was improving now and with 30 minutes of the half played, Jayde Alexander added a further three points with a great long range kick, stretching the lead to 20 – 16. Stoke kept pushing and asking questions of the Kenilworth defence, but it held firm. Kenilworth certainly had the upper hand and in the dying moments of the match, after Stoke picked up a yellow card and with Kenilworth camped just outside the try line, Bobby Thompson added a further try, unconverted and a final score-line of 25-16 in favour of the visitors.
Next week, 21st Dec, the return fixtures in the league start and Kenilworth entertain Sutton Coldfield in a 3pm kick off.