KENILWORTH RUGBY FOOTBALL CLUB
Gareth Renowden and Ed Hannam celebrated individual club milestones in style on Saturday as they helped Kenilworth secure a 20-5 victory over local rivals Leamington at Glasshouse Lane, writes Bruce Doe.
Renowden played is 250th 1st XV match for the club while Ed Hannam scored twice as he celebrated a century of Kenilworth appearances in a tense local derby. The result means Kenilworth remain top of the Midlands 2 West (South) league, level on points with Kidderminster, after eight wins in nine matches.
Things could not have got off to a worse start for the home side when only a few minutes into the Match Kenilworth winger Ollie Burman and skipper Bobby Thompson collided trying to tidy up a loose ball following considerable early pressure from an enthusiastic and very competitive Leamington team. Unfortunately both players had to leave the field for touchline treatment and were replaced by Josh O’Brien and Tondi Mpambawashe respectively.
Leamington continued to press but the home side’s defence held strong and Kenilworth eventually worked their way into the Leamington half. Although now seeking to take hold of the match, Kenilworth made things difficult for themselves as mistakes started to creep in. Despite this, the hosts worked hard to put the first points on the board and their efforts were boosted when the visitors were reduced to 14 men. A Leamington player was somewhat harshly sin binned for a high tackle.
A few minutes later it was Kenilworth who were at the wrong end of the referee’s decision-making when he refused to allow skipper Bobby Thompson to return to the pitch following treatment on his shoulder. The referee apparently decided it was not a shoulder injury but a head knock and therefore said Thompson could not return.
That setback aside, Kenilworth continued to put pressure on Leamington and were rewarded with a penalty in front of posts. The was successful by Josh Emery to take his side into the half time break with a narrow three-point lead.
Both sides started the second period in much the same way as the first half ended with Kenilworth trying really hard to put their game together. However, the hosts were frustrated by Leamington’s quickly advancing defence and the seemingly constant stoppages.
However, 10 minutes into the second half Kenilworth started to put one or two phases together and the first indication of Kenilworth’s ability to run the ball could be seen when the ball worked its way through to full back Garrett Bell who joined the line on the right to grubber kick towards the Leamington 22. With good ground having been made Kenilworth continued to press and were rewarded when line out ball was won five yards out. Quick ball to the backs then saw centurion Hannam run a great straight line to take a short pass and touch down under the posts. Emery successfully converted to give Kenilworth a more comfortable 10-0 advantage.
Leamington, as expected, continued to fight hard to get back into contention and their midfield pressure on Kenilworth was rewarded with a penalty that they kicked to the corner. Following a successful catch and drive, the visitors eventually burrowed over the Kenilworth line for an unconverted try to take the score to 10-5.
Kenilworth came straight back at Leamington and by now were starting to dominate field position although the game continued to be very stop-start. From one such stoppage Leamington again seemed to fall foul of a harsh decision to yellow card one of their forwards, however this was to Kenilworth’s advantage. The subsequent penalty, in front of the posts, was converted by Emery once again to extend the hosts’ lead to 13-5.
From the resulting re-start Sam Harrison caught the ball and made considerable ground towards the Leamington 22. Although the ball was not re-cycled effectively Kenilworth remained deep in Leamington’s half of the field and were further rewarded with their second try of the match. After two or three phases, the ball was moved right and scrum half Gareth Renowden offloaded to centre Charlie Stevens who fed Ed Hannam on Leamington’s 22. Hannam out ran the chasing defence to touch down just to the right of the posts. With Emery again adding the extras Kenilworth closed the game down a few minutes later for a 20-5 victory.
Kenilworth travel to Jimmy Gopperth's Nuneaton Old Edwardians this weekend before returning to Glasshouse Lane on Saturday 15th December to face Old Coventrians in their final home match of 2018.