KENILWORTH RUGBY FOOTBALL CLUB
Kenilworth bounced back from last week’s careless away defeat to comfortably beat Worcestershire visitors Droitwich 55-14 at Glasshouse Lane. On grey, overcast and breezy, but generally dry afternoon, Kenilworth took the game hard and fast at Droitwich. An early clearance kick from the away side was well fielded by full back Garrett Bell who ran the ball straight back into the Droitwich half. This early foray by Bell signified his continued contribution to the home side, both in attack and defence, throughout the game, writes Bruce Doe.
Kenilworth’s first score came ten minutes in. Following a penalty kick to the left hand touch line, Kenilworth caught the ball cleanly to send the backs away down the right. The ball was moved effectively through the hands with Bell again making good ground. Recycled ball was moved back left, to winger Nyle Beckett who raced into the corner to touch down for the first of Kenilworth’s 9 tries. With the try unconverted, Kenilworth took an early 5 point lead.
From the kick off, the home side took the ball straight back to Droitwich. Just a few plays later, and following a cleanly secured line out the ball was moved left. A well timed short pass was taken by centre Jayde Cruickshank who found himself in space and heading for the posts. Touching down for a second well worked try, converted by the try scorer, gave Kenilworth a 12-0 lead.
There followed a short period of mid pitch play when Droitwich staged their first real attack of the game. Moving the ball wide, the advancing left winger was superbly tackled low, into touch by flanker Sam Harrison. The home side struck again soon after when an attack down the middle saw scrum half Gareth Renowden pop a short pass to stand off Alex Selby who raced in under the posts to touch down despite the attention of a Droitwich defender. With the try converted by Cruickshank, and around 25 minutes of play, Kenilworth moved into a 19-0 lead.
The bonus point try came only four minutes later. With Kenilworth moving their possession ever forward, the ball was moved swiftly right to find the hard working prop Jake Dodd who committed two defenders before a great off load to influential full back Bell who straightened his line to commit the last defender before sending out a ‘back door’ pass to winger Jack Scott who beat the retreating cover to go over in the corner. The well worked, but unconverted try, gave Kenilworth a healthy 24-0 lead.
There followed a period of play when hard working Droitwich did their best to get into the game. A period of mostly mid pitch encounters followed with the away side seeing a bit more of the ball but being put under constant pressure by the well organised Kenilworth defence. In time Kenilworth took back the initiative and went hard on the attack. A good series of plays between both forwards and backs saw Kenilworth move the ball both right and left with a combination of good hands and great lines of running. From the ensuing pressure, Kenilworth opted for a scrum down on being awarded a penalty, a second penalty immediately followed which Renowden quickly tapped and ran. Even though the scrum half was illegally halted only feet from stepping off, the ball was moved left where flanker Harrison went over near to the posts. The try, converted by Cruickshank, was to be the last score of an impressive first half for Kenilworth.
It was Droitwich who came out of the blocks the quickest in the second half. Working their way through a number of phases they progressed towards the Kenilworth try line. With the ball moved effectively between their hands, the away side were rewarded with a well taken try near to the posts. Converted, Droitwich had got their first points on the board but still well behind at 31-7.
It took just 5 minutes for Kenilworth to respond and get the next score on the board. Good team approach work got Kenilworth into the Droitwich 22. From a cleanly taken lineout, the home side drove the opposition forwards back. Following a penalty for collapsing the driving maul, Kenilworth opted for a scrum down, 5 out. A second penalty followed. Following a second scrum option the ball was eventually driven over the try line for Ryka Shekavati to touch down. The conversion missed gave Kenilworth an unassailable 36-7 lead.
With around 20 minutes to go and the game well won, Kenilworth made changes. Winger Jack Scott, Hooker Luke Truslove and Flanker Nick Gerber, who had all performed strongly throughout left the field of play to be replaced by Jack Rawlins, Dave Bromfield and Mikkel Andresen. Just minutes after Kenilworth crossed again. Simple but effective play up the middle of the park into the away side’s 22 saw fly half Alex Selby provide a superb and incisive off load to the marauding skipper Bobby Thompson who made ground and then fed fellow back rower Harrison who went over for another excellent try. Converted by Cruickshank, Kenilworth’s score moved to 43-7.
Kenilworth continued to press although Droitwich worked very hard to prevent further scores. The game became a bit untidy at this point with the over eager home side snatching at passes, knocking on or spilling the ball. However, they ‘tidied themselves up’ relatively quickly and pressed deep into Droitwich’s 22. From a penalty opted scrum down, an untidy ball out of the back row of the scrum was tidied up by scrum half Renowden who ran blindside and touched down. Conversion missed, Kenilworth’s lead was now 48-7.
Kenilworth’s final try of the afternoon came 5 minutes later when Mikkel Andresen took advantage of good yards made by centre Cruickshank into the away sides 22 to drive over from 10 yards out, dragging a Droitwich defender with him. A good conversion from Cruickshank finalised the scoring for Kenilworth at 55-7. Droitwich, to their credit threw everything into attack, and got themselves close to the Kenilworth line. They worked through a number of pick and go drives which were, in the main, well defended by Kenilworth. However the away side persevered and got their reward with a second converted try. With the whistle going soon after, Kenilworth were very comfortable victors at 55-14.
Kenilworth’s performance was built upon the platform of a really strong scrum, a well functioning line out (both of which provided optimal first phase ball), quicker movement of the ball and effective defence. All of which and maybe more will be required this Saturday as Kenilworth travel to the current league leaders Dudley Kingswinford. Kickoff: 2.15pm. Your support would be most welcome.