KENILWORTH RUGBY FOOTBALL CLUB
Kenilworth reached the third round of the Intermediate Cup on Saturday with a hard-fought 24-22 victory over Wolverhampton in blustery conditions at Glasshouse Lane, writes Sophie Freestone.
Despite having the strong wind in their favour during the first half, Wolverhampton were unable to make the most of their advantage with Kenilworth getting the better of the visitors in the opening forty.
The hosts opened the scoring after 16 minutes with a well-taken try from hooker Harry Abell. Some great running from centre Rhys Jones from the half way line, followed by a superb step from Gareth Renowden took Kenilworth deep into the Wolverhampton 22. The ball then made its way to Abell who showed some neat footwork to break through the defence and touch down by the posts. Josh Emery added the extras to give his side a 7-0 lead.
Wolverhampton's response came just four minutes later with a well-struck penalty from distance to close the gap to four points.
With the wind against them, Kenilworth continued to press the Wolverhampton defence and soon found themselves 14-3 ahead. A perfectly weighted kick-through was chased by Renowden who fell just short of the line, but second row Tondi Mpambawashe was on hand to sneak over. The conversion from Emery gave Kenilworth the full seven points.
A penalty from Emery after 32 minutes further extended Kenilworth's advantage before Wolverhampton finally capitalised on having the wind in their favour. An excellent kick to the left corner took the hosts into the Kenilworth 22. The ball then went through a number of phases, and the visitors' patience eventually paid off with a try in the right-hand corner as the half drew to a close. The successful conversion made the score 17-10 to Kenilworth at the break.
The second half started much as the first half had finished with Wolverhampton once again pressurising the Kenilworth defence. After a sustained period of pressure camped inside the hosts' 22, Wolverhampton burrowed over for another try. The conversion went wide of the uprights to leave Kenilworth in front by just two points with 25 minutes remaining.
Kenilworth then began to capitalise on the wind direction in a way that Wolverhampton couldn't in the opening forty and a superb kick to the corner from Alex Selby took his side deep into the Wolverhampton 22. Good hands took the ball out wide to the right with Bobby Thompson breaking through the defensive line. Emery's successful conversion restored his side's seven-point advantage with 65 minutes on the clock.
The visitors hadn't finished, however, and some good attacking play ensured it was a nervy finish for the Glasshouse Lane faithful. The visitors subsequently crossed the whitewash for a third try which was successfully converted, however it was deep into over time and the seven points wasn't enough to steal victory at the death.
The victory sees Kenilworth progress to the third round of the Intermediate Cup which is due to take place on Saturday 10th November. Next up for Kenilworth is a return to league action as they travel to Earlsdon looking for a fifth consecutive victory to maintain their unbeaten record in Midlands 2 West (South).