Kenilworth Ladies' unbeaten start to the league season continued on Sunday with a 45-12 victory away to Buckinghamshire side Olney, with centre Felicity Baldwin scoring her first ever hat trick, writes Sophie Freestone.
The visitors travelled to Olney having secured a narrow 15-12 victory over Five Ways Old Edwardians in their previous league fixture, but put on a much more composed performance to secure a comprehensive victory.
In the opening stages it was Kenilworth who showed their intent early on, with a penalty to the corner inside the opening ten minutes. The resulting line out operated well and fly half Abi Minor found a gap in the defence to score her side's first try of the afternoon. Rebecca Lewis' conversion gave her side a 7-0 lead with ten minutes on the clock.
That lead was soon extended, with captain Rebecca Lane breaking through a gap in the hosts' defence to score, with flanker Janine McComiskey releasing Lane for the try. Lewis' conversion drifted wide of the uprights to leave the score at 12-0 after 15 minutes.
The following ten minutes saw the majority of play take place in the middle of the park before Olney took advantaged of their field position to score their opening try after 27 minutes. Sustained pressure in the Kenilworth 22 resulted in a try for their fly half, Jennie Miles, whose footwork opened up the visitor's defence for a try under the posts. Her conversion closed the gap to 12-7.
With half time approaching, Kenilworth were looking for the try that would give them a twelve point lead, and it came after 35 minutes when Baldwin was on hand to receive an offload from number eight Caroline Spence for an easy run in under the posts. Lewis added the extras for a 19-7 half time lead.
The opening twenty of the second half saw possession swing between Kenilworth and Olney with neither side able to cross the whitewash. The visitors, however, were first on the scoreboard in the final forty with Helena Allison-Moore crossing on the left after a series of phases in the Olney 22. Lewis missed the conversion as Kenilworth held a 24-7 advantage.
Allison-Moore's score signalled the opening of the floodgates with Baldwin scoring two tries in as many minutes to secure her hat trick. Her second of the match was the result of an excellent counter attack that saw Baldwin race away from the Olney defence. Her third saw the centre show excellent control of the ball with her feet to kick it over the line for a try. Lewis converted both for a comfortable 38-7 lead with 15 minutes to play.
Olney responded ten minutes later with a try of their own but the conversion attempt bounced off the uprights. Kenilworth were not done, however, with the speedy wing Sophie Henry showing excellent pace and footwork to dodge her way through the Olney defence for her first league try. The successful conversion gave Kenilworth a 45-12 victory.
The victory sees Kenilworth Ladies sit at the top of the Women's NC Midlands 1 division after two matches, and they next take on Old Northamptonians at home on Sunday 8th October.