KENILWORTH RUGBY FOOTBALL CLUB
Kenilworth travelled to Old Laurentians on Wednesday evening (19th December) in the first round of the Warwickshire Shield and came away with hard won 34-17 victory, writes Bruce Doe.
Kenilworth looked more youthful than usual with Colt Jack Rawlins and ex Colt Rob Poulter making their first start for Kenilworth on the wings. Both more than played their part showing solid defence and making strong attacking runs with Rawlins scoring a good try in the corner to close the game down.
On a cold and dank evening the home side immediately made inroads deep into the Kenilworth half with both their forwards and quick backs showing their intent. However, Kenilworth’s defence held strong and around five minutes in they started to put the pressure back on OLs and moved towards striking distance of the opposition line. After a number of pick and drives the ball was moved quickly right to strong running centre Ed Hannam who shirked off two defenders to go in under the posts. With Hannam converting his own try, Kenilworth led 7-0.
OLs bounced straight back however and even though a crunching tackle from flanker Raj Bahey knocked one of their strong ball carriers backwards and temporarily halted progress, they regained possession and kicked to the corner, causing full back Adam Clifford to tidy up. A resultant lineout was well taken by OLs who drove over to score their first try which was unconverted for 7-5 scoreline.
This time Kenilworth came straight back. From a lineout some 22m out Kenilworth made good ground with a catch and drive but over eagerness caused the ball to be lost forward. However OLs found it difficult to exit their 22 and with turnover ball won the ball was spun right to reach Rawlins who made good ground to the corner but lost his footing just short of the opposition line. However, Kenilworth retained possession for Tom Naismith to drive over for Kenilworth’s second score. With Hannam missing the conversion Kenilworth deservedly led 12-5.
From the re-start Kenilworth went straight back down the pitch. With the ball re-cycled quickly and effectively Hannam went in for his second try of the game crossing to the right of the posts. Unfortunately no extras were added so Kenilworth moved towards closing the half on top with a healthy 17-5 lead. Just prior to half time Kenilworth unfortunately lost Hooker Harry Abell to a facial injury following a collision with his front row colleague Dave Bromfield. The very reliable Chris Pemble took his place.
Kenilworth started the second half in much the same vein when scrum half Gareth Renownden picked from the base of a ruck and made good yards towards the OLs line. A couple of phases later replacement Pemble drove over for Kenilworth’s 4th try, this time converted by Hannam to take the score to 24-5.
OLs again displayed their fighting characteristic that had featured throughout the game when they took the game back to Kenilworth from the re-start and a kick to the corner resulted in a five metre scrum. Soon after, a penalty kick was kicked to the corner and OLs caught and drove over for their second try. A missed conversion moved the score to 24-10.
The pattern of the game continued with Kenilworth moving themselves back into an attacking position with a lineout 10 metres out. With the lineout secured, Kenilworth moved through two or three phases before skipper Bobby Thompson crossed just left of the posts. Following a successful Hannam conversion Kenilworth extended their lead to 29-10.
Following a period of resilient Kenilworth defence, when again to their credit OL’s fought back strongly, Kenilworth worked their way back down the pitch with Nick Gerber and Hannam making good ground towards the OL’s try line. A scrum about 10 metres out was picked up by Thompson who fed Renownden who in turn fed right wing Rawlins for him to dart over for his first senior try. With the conversion out wide missed, Kenilworth led 34-10. OLs bounced back again for a converted consolation try to make the final score 34-17.
Kenilworth close the first half of their 2018-19 campaign in a really strong position being top of their league, in the final rounds of the National Intermediate Cup and in the quarter finals of the Warwickshire Shield. There is therefore lots to look forward to in 2019 starting with their opening game on Saturday 5th January away at Rugby St Andrews.