Olney end Kenilworth Ladies' unbeaten run in seven-try victory
Kenilworth Ladies’ unbeaten run in the league stretching back to the start of last season came to an end on Sunday with a 45-22 home defeat to Northamptonshire side Olney, writes Sophie Freestone.
It was Kenilworth’s first defeat since their fourth round Junior Cup loss to Reading Abbey over a year ago, with Olney giving themselves a 21-point lead in as many minutes.
The visitors opened the scoring after just two minutes when powerful centre Charlotte Denny broke through the defence on half way to touch down under the posts. The conversion from fly half Jennie Miles was successful for a 7-0 lead.
Kenilworth responded just five minutes later however, when full back Phoebe Howles spotted the tiniest of gaps and accelerated through to open her side’s account. The conversion was missed to leave a gap of two points.
That was to be the closest Kenilworth would come to Olney, however, with the visitors extending their lead just two minutes later through a second try from Denny. Olney broke out of their own half before Denny sidestepped her way round Kenilworth for a try under the posts. Miles was once again on target with the conversion for a 14-5 lead.
It wasn’t long before that lead was increased to 16 points, when Olney turned the ball over to counter attack. A one-armed offload put them into space, allowing them to race clear with Meg Edwards scoring their third of the afternoon. The conversion from Miles made the score 21-5 with just 21 minutes on the clock.
Denny then sealed her hat trick mid way through the first half after Sarah Davey kicked the ball upfield. It was subsequently recycled and Denny was on hand to burrow over from close range to give her side a 26-5 advantage.
Kenilworth then started to get into the game, preventing any further first half scores from Olney. The hosts had a sustained period of pressure just five metres from the Olney line and, having been held up twice, the referee awarded Kenilworth a penalty try on the stroke of half time to close the gap to 14 points.
Olney didn’t let up in the second half though, and were once again over the whitewash eight minutes into the final forty with Denny once again powering her way through for her fourth. The extras from Miles made the score 33-12.
It took just two minutes before Olney went over for the sixth time. Davey broke free on half way and held off Kenilworth’s scrambling defence to extend her side’s lead to 38-12 with half an hour to play.
There were 67 minutes on the clock before Kenilworth found a way through in the second half. The home side mounted an attack in the Olney 22 with replacement prop Kirsty Davie finishing off the move on the right.
That try made the score 38-17 but Olney responded by scoring their seventh, with Denny increasing her tally for the match to five. The extras from Miles took her side up to 45 points with 10 minutes remaining.
With a 21-point deficit, Kenilworth continued to push for further scores in the closing stages. Their efforts were rewarded when winger Sophie Henry put her foot down to beat the Olney defenders for her side’s fourth.
There was too much for Kenilworth to do however, with too little time, as Olney secured their ninth league win of the season with a 45-22 victory.
Pics of the game can be viewed
Despite the disappointing defeat, Kenilworth have finished top of the Women's NC Midlands 1 league, with a total of 60 points, 14 points clear of second-placed Five Ways Old Edwardians.
The side are next in action this weekend as they play in the promotion play-off.