KENILWORTH RUGBY FOOTBALL CLUB
Kenilworth scored six tries to extend their lead at the top of Midlands 2 West (South) on Saturday with a 37-13 bonus-point victory over Rugby St Andrews in their first fixture of 2019, writes Sophie Freestone.
Ed Hannam scored three tries with Gareth Renowden (2) and Rhidian Booth also getting on the score sheet. The result sees Kenilworth hold a four point advantage over second-placed Kidderminster who suffered a 22-21 defeat and the hands of Old Laurentians.
The opening stages of the match saw both sides exchange penalties for 3-3 before Rugby St Andrews took the lead mid-way through the first half. The hosts showed their danger in attack to touch down in the right hand corner to give them a 10-3 lead.
Kenilworth's response was immediate, however, with Hannam scoring his first of the match. The centre showed his skills to break through the defence and touch down to open the visitors' account and close the gap to two points.
A penalty on 32 minutes extended Rugby St Andrews' lead to five points but some superb work from Hannam just four minutes later put Kenilworth in front for the first time. Hannam once again broke through the hosts' defence, with Josh Emery adding the extras for a 15-13 lead.
With half time looming, it looked as if Hannam would wrap up his hat trick inside the opening forty as he charged towards the line but was pulled down just short. Renowden was in support, however, and the scrum half was on hand to receive the off load and score on the left hand side to extend his side's lead to 20-13 at the break.
Kenilworth started the second half strongly with a line out 5m from the Rugby St Andrews line. A catch and drive followed with prop Rhidian Booth touching down for the first try of the second half, securing the bonus point in the process.
Ollie Burman then showed his pace down the left five minutes later after the hosts knocked the ball on. The winger sprinted up the touchline and almost made the line before passing inside to Renowden who was once again in support to touch down. Emery added the conversion to put Kenilworth into a commanding 32-13 lead.
With 70 minutes on the clock, Kenilworth continued to press the Rugby St Andrews defence and their efforts were rewarded after a well-worked backs move. The ball made its way from the line out down the back line and into the hands of Hannam who touched down to secure his hat trick and seal a 37-13 victory for Kenilworth.
Kenilworth are next in action on Saturday as they take on Silhillians in the first match of 2019 at Glasshouse Lane. Kick off is at 2:15pm.