KENILWORTH RUGBY FOOTBALL CLUB
Worcester Wanderers 19 Kenilworth 26
Kenilworth travelled to Worcester looking to shore-up their poor away record. A strong wind was again a feature of the game – as a prelude to storm Ciara – and Kenilworth secured a hard-fought 26 – 19 win against a spirited, physical opposition, writes Phil Morris.
Kenilworth kicked off with the wind and spent the lion’s share of the opening ten minutes deep in Worcester’s 22. After no fewer than five penalties (and a yellow card for the Worcester No.8), the visitors finally breached the Worcester defence from a lineout and driving maul, with Tondi Mpambawashe touching down. Jayde Cruickshank slotted successfully for a 7 – 0 lead.
Worcester launched phases of attack after the restart but lost the ball at a lineout allowing Kenilworth to kick and chase. The wind helped the ball over the dead ball line though. With 20 minutes elapsed, Kenilworth piled on the pressure, moving the ball swiftly left, then right with Connor Burnet’s well-timed run to drive over for a try. Jayde added the extras and a 14 point advantage.
Worcester wasted little time in responding, receiving a Kenilworth clearance kick, finding a gap and crossing over under the posts for a converted try. 14 – 7. Worcester’s confidence was growing and Kenilworth’s defence was being tested. Both sides traded attacking phases and both made some errors in the difficult conditions. Winger Nyle Beckett suffered an injury and was replaced by Sam Morris. The final score of the half came from a Worcester scrum, shortly after a yellow card for Kenilworth centre Ed Hannam. Worcester moved the ball quickly out right for an unconverted try and a narrowed 14 – 12 gap after 40 minutes.
Kenilworth started the half with Sam Harrison replacing Connor Burnet. Just five minutes into the second half, Kenilworth won possession from a Worcester lineout and launched an attack. Mikkel Andresen made it count with a try in the right-hand corner. A difficult kick into the wind by Jayde failed to convert. 19 – 12. Worcester continued to attack, using the wind for long-range kicks into touch. Kenilworth’s defence held firm. With 15 minutes on the clock, Worcester moved the ball quickly from their lineout and managed to evade tackles for a score-levelling converted try. 19 – 19.
It was time for Kenilworth to dig deep, and this they did. A superb Jack Scott run nearly made it to the line. Several drives at the line followed and a penalty was kicked to the corner. Luke Truslove scored from the lineout and Jayde successfully added the conversion much to the delight of the big away support. 26 – 19. Worcester fought back hard but Kenilworth’s defence held firm. Bobby Thompson and Jack Scott made good yards in response but Worcester were relentless in their search for a score, securing two late scrums. This pressure though was resisted and the whistle blew at 26 – 19 to Kenilworth after the game was played out in the Worcester half.
Next week Kenilworth are again on their travels, this time to Kidderminster. Results elsewhere in the league saw leaders Dudley K defeated at home by second placed Lichfield who now head the league one point ahead of Dudley K and four ahead of Kenilworth. All three teams have identical records of wins/losses, the differences being bonus points. There are seven games remaining.