Kenilworth's Winning Start Continues

Kenilworth30 - 26 Stoke

Last Updated: Sep 22, 2015 05:21pm
Kenilworth, Warwick
By Willie Whitesmith
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Kenilworth continued their winning start to the 2015/16 season but the final quarter of the match against a physical Stoke side proved anything but straightforward, writes Ralph Murray.

With the game delayed by 10 mins due to traffic problems for the visitors, Kenilworth wasted no further time in getting into attack mode. Winger Joe Jepps was in the midst of a lot of the early work – on both sides of the ball – and his first run saw him beat numerous defenders before being held up short. Stoke cleared the threat and there was a stoppage for what looked like a serious facial injury to the Stoke lock. Ks continued the surge and full back Jimmy Middleton spotted a gap in midfield and darted in behind the Stoke defence before being tackled short; a patient recycling saw Joe Jepps open the afternoon’s scoring, Josh Hickman converting, for a 7-0 lead.

Kenilworth now enjoyed a purple patch which saw them play some really expansive rugby but a couple of penalties from Josh Hickman were all they had to show for the 13-0 lead. Another serious collision saw Kenilworth winger Rhys Jones [censored] prone with a nasty looking facial wound but, after a short delay, he was able to leave the field under his own steam to be substituted by Jai Purewal. Centre Ed Hannam looked to have stifled the next Stoke attack by stealing the ball in midfield but he was harshly pinged for holding on when it appeared he had not reached the turf. Stoke then took full advantage of Kenilworth’s slow reaction to the quick tap penalty to open their account with a score under the posts and the result of a dominant display by the hosts was only a slender 13-7 lead. Jimmy Middleton was another player having an impressive afternoon and his ability to spot the gap led to another mazy run towards the line; this time he made no mistake and a successful conversion by Josh Hickman made the half-time score a more representative 20-7.

The second half opened with Kenilworth again on the wrong side of the penalty count; much of their good work was being undone by poor discipline or unforced errors and even if the decisions were questionable they must be able to adjust their game accordingly. The opening period of the second half was thus a fairly uneventful time until Ed Hannam made a break and, faced with 3 defenders, chipped the ball and collared the man in possession to set up the next attack. Kens won a penalty and opted for a 10m lineout and Stoke again infringed before Ks moved the ball infield. Showing admirable patience, they looked for an opening in the Stoke defence before Mikkel Andreson grounded the ball for a score that was just reward for his outstanding work rate during the game. 

The try was not converted and it was 25-7 as we entered the final quarter. However Stoke had not given up the cause and, with their set scrum proving a real area of dominance, they looked to get back on terms. From one such scrum the visitors broke left and looked to have an overlap but the final pass appeared to have been called forward. After some deliberation the referee awarded the try and Stoke had a new impetus; from the restart they won a penalty in midfield and 2 passes later the impressive centre straightened the line and it’s a 6-point game at 25-19!

Kenilworth ideally wanted to secure a bonus point with a fourth try but the resurgent Stoke had changed the priority to closing the game out. Scrum half, Gaz Renowden, having another industrious outing, was controlling proceedings at the base of the ruck when the timeless prop Nick Collett made the decision for him by barrelling straight up the middle for a gain of 15m and put Stoke on the back foot. Kenilworth kept the momentum and attacked the line multiple times before Gaz Renowden eyed the chance to score a well-deserved try, not converted. That score secured the bonus point and, with time running down, the result would seem to have been settled at 30-19. However Stoke had other ideas and made another searching raid into the Kenilworth half from the restart; in no time they scored again and it was now a 4 point game at 30-26!

That was to be the final score of the day as Kenilworth ended the game in Stoke territory and missing a late penalty; the visitors deservedly took 2 bonus points from their afternoon. Kenilworth have now secured a maximum return of 15 points from their first 3 games of the season but, as this game showed, there are no certain outcomes in this division and sterner tests lie ahead.




Tries for Harvey Joy, Alex Gyetvai and Ben Green. Con by Harvey Joy.


CAVALIERS - no game




two tries for Harry Kaufman, con by Mark Turner.



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