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No Warm Welcome for Kenilworth

Midlands 1 West: Balsall Common 22 Kenilworth 27

Last Updated: Oct 15, 2013 07:53am
Kenilworth, Warwick
By Willie Whitesmith
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Saturday’s weather, somewhat reflected the game as Balsall and Berkswell ‘entertained’ local rivals Kenilworth, a dull affair that deteriorated as the rain lashed down on both players and spectators.

It is disappointing that the post game talk was not so much about the rugby that had been played, but incidents that should not really be happening on a rugby pitch, writes Dean Stephenson.

Kenilworth played the first half of the game, playing ‘downhill’, hoping to use the pronounced slope to build up a lead. As it turned out, it was the home side who took the lead on two occasions, forcing the visitors to chase the game for the majority of the half. It all started well for the Ken’s, with the ever lively Gareth Renowden , supported by his back row forwards, Jack Gibson and Bobby Thompson, breaking from deep, and making large territorial gains, pinning Balsall, into their own half. Indeed, when the Kenilworth forwards won the first scrum against the head, it seemed that the visitors were going to control that area of play, but it proved the exception as the B&B forwards came more and more into the game. Even at this early stage the game was scrappy, with passes dropped and line-outs untidy, giving neither side controlled possession, but it was B&B who struck first with a dummy switch in the centre, fooling the Kenilworth centre partnership, allowing James Fahy to score, near the posts, which was converted by No10 Dan Burke. This lead could have been extended had Burke converted a penalty chance, as the Kenilworth forwards were penalised for hands in the ruck. This attempt was missed, and after the ball had been cleared to the touchline, Jack Gibson, first stole the line out and broke deep into the B&B 22, allowing the ball to be recycled for the Kenilworth back line, where Simon Tyler cut inside and made the line. Tom Kendall, who had another perfect kicking day, added the conversion, to tie up the scores.

The game, at this stage, was still littered with mistakes from both sides, with no team putting together any sustained possession or pressure, but B&B again used their back division, to break through the Kenilworth defence to score a converted try, to go 14 - 7 up. Kenilworth responded straight from the resulting kick off with Gibson, again breaking the gain line, who in turn fed Thompson, who ploughed over from the 22 metre line. Kendall converted to level again at 14 -14. The visitors used this spur to start playing the game in the B&B half of the pitch, and when fly half Selby was adjudged to have been taken high, Kendall stepped up to give Kenilworth a 17-14 lead, which they help onto until half time.  

HT   B&B 14 – KENILWORTH 17.

The second half started  in fine style for Kenilworth, who attacked from the kick-off, resulting in a penalty, which the full back Kendall slotted over to extend Kenilworth’s lead to 14-20, but they could not break away, and when the Kenilworth forwards were penalised, Burke stepped up to cut the lead to 17-20. But after 15 minutes into the second half, No8 Bobby Thompson scored, what proved to be a decisive score for the visitors. Thompson, stole a B&B line out, and after breaking a couple of tackles, scored, which Kendall again converted to give Kenilworth a 17-27 lead.

As the weather deteriorated, so did the game. The rain lashed down, and both captains were spoken to by referee Dene Randell. Balsall were now trying to attack from all sectors of the pitch, and using the slope, put pressure on the Kenilworth line, resulting in a number of set piece scrums, one of which resulted in a ‘fracas’ involving a number of people, causing referee Randell not only speaking to the skippers, again, but also the B&B coach. This very unsavoury incident led to Jack Gibson having to leave the field, looking like he had gone a couple of rounds with Mike Tyson. The scrum was reset, and eventually led to B&B scoring an unconverted push over try in the corner.

With time running out, Renowden again broke from a set piece and punted the ball deep into B&B territory, but again the home team ran the ball out, resulting in a penalty award, which with time running out they decided to run. This attack broke down when the ball was dropped forward, and the referee blew the final whistle. 

Final Score B&B 22 – KENILWORTH 27.

The victory will be welcomed by Kenilworth, though the game will not. The Ken’s remain in 5th place in this competitive league with 4 wins and a draw from their first 6 games, and crucially their first away win, but sterner tests face the Kenilworth side, when they play the top four clubs in the league, in the next four weeks, starting with 2nd placed Burton, who visit Glasshouse Lane on Saturday 19th October. Let’s hope for a better game.

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