KENILWORTH RUGBY FOOTBALL CLUB
With no game for the previous 3 weeks everyone was eager to get on the pitch and the intensity during the warm up was an indication of what was to come. The game saw the senior debuts of three of our exciting colts, Sam Peppitt, Alfie Armstrong and Ardal Yallop, writes Andy McKennzie.
Kenilworth started the brighter team spending the first 10 minutes in the OL’s half but were unable to make it count for anything. It was OL's who were first on the scoreboard. Their much larger and more experienced pack carried well and a catch and drive close to the K’s line was bundled over in the corner to make the score 0-5.
In response, Kenilworth put OL’s under more pressure in their own half by playing wide and using the pace of the backs. Kenilworth got to within 15m of the OL’s try line when young scrum half Sam Peppitt saw a gap near the breakdown. Peppitt dashed towards the try line for his first try of the game. Peppitt added the extras to make the score 7-5.
Kenilworth held up well defensively for the next onslaught of big carries from the OL’s pack and their big centre who took 3 or 4 players to bring him down. Young back row Alfie Armstrong threw himself into several tackles and gave a good account of himself all afternoon.
OL’s slowly worked their way towards the Ks 22. Eventually some poor defensive positioning allowing them to break through and score their 2nd try of the game. No conversion.7-10
Kenilworth hit back again. Some fantastic work at the breakdown forced a penalty for Ks at around 40 meters out. Adam Clifford at fly half was fantastic with the boot all game and kicked close to the 5m line. The resulting line out was secured by the reliable Jonny Openshaw and sent out to the backs. Myles Hibbs (in the centre) latched on to the ball at pace and broke several tackles on his way to scoring a well worked try.
Kenilworth scored again within minutes absorbing the OL’s pressure and turning over the ball deep into the K’s 22. Back row Ardal Yallop picked up the loose ball and sprinted over half the length of the pitch, out pacing the opposition winger and centre who were giving chase. With the full back to beat, Yallop saw the supporting run of Sam Peppitt and sent Sam in for his 2nd try of the game. Converted by Peppitt to make the score 19-10 at half time.
Kenilworth started the second half well and within 5 minutes scored again. This time full back James Lilley running from deep on to a well worked backs move to burst through untouched and score under the posts. The conversion from Peppitt giving Kenilworth a healthy 26-10 lead.
Kenilworth were unlucky not to add another try shortly after. Fly half Adam Clifford worked well to link up with winger Junior Beyiha who beat his opposite man to run in for the try. The referee unfortunately brought it back for a dubious forward pass call.
Kenilworth did not have to wait long to get more points on the board. Sam Peppitt out of nowhere exposed another gap in the tired OL’s line, out pacing several players to run in for his third try of the game. This was converted to bring the score to a comfortable 33-10 with around 15 minutes remaining.
The remaining minutes were somewhat nervy. Some tired legs, injuries, a yellow card for Peppitt senior and a lack of substitutes took its toll and OL’s scored 22 unanswered points.
Kenilworth held on to win 33-32 against a very strong Old Laurentian team and keep the pressure on the league leaders Leamington who we visit in the next league fixture on February 29th.
This game had several outstanding performances across the pitch. It would be unfair to pick a single man of the match but this week’s mentions and men of the match go to the three lads stepping up from the colts for their first game of senior rugby. Ardal Yallop, Alfie Armstrong and scrum half Sam Peppitt were outstanding and showed that the next crop of players coming through at Kenilworth are something to be excited about.