Injury-time try sends Kenilworth Ladies into Cup final with dramatic win
For images of this match, please click HERE. credit Pete Hall.
Kenilworth Ladies secured their place in the Intermediate Cup semi final on Sunday with a dramatic 29-24 victory over Bury St Edmunds at Glasshouse Lane thanks to a last-gasp try from hat-trick hero Stav Williams, writes Sophie Freestone.
The visitors had put themselves into a seemingly comfortable 24-12 lead with less ten minutes remaining, but Kenilworth bounced back in spectacular style to book their spot in the final. The hosts scored three tries in seven minutes to complete an incredible comeback with Williams' third try sealing victory at the death.
It was the hosts' who had a good start to their first ever Cup semi final with Kirsty Davie opening the scoring. The prop spotted a gap in the Bury defence and broke through for an easy run in to touch down. the conversion from Rebecca Hill gave her side a 7-0 lead with eight minutes played.
Having conceded an early try, Bury responded well levelling the scores on 16 minutes when the hooker charged through the defence to score. The conversion levelled the scores at 7-7.
Bury then began to get territory and made their field position count with an interception just inside the Kenilworth half. They powered past the Kenilworth defence to put them into 12-7 lead on the half hour mark.
Kenilworth continued to pressure the Bury defence however, and their efforts were rewarded as half time approached. The hosts earned a penalty just outside the Bury 22 and some slick passing saw the ball reach Williams who crossed for her first of the afternoon. The conversion went wide of the uprights to level the scores at 12-12 at the break.
The opening 15 minutes of the final forty saw both side's trying to break through but the defences held firm. It wasn't until the 58th minute that the first points of the second half were scored, with Bury crossing on the left after a sustained period of pressure in the Kenilworth 22 following a five metre scrum. The conversion drifted wide of the uprights from a tough angle as Bury entered the final quarter five points in front.
The hosts then looked to level the scores but handling errors gave Bury possession and the visitors extended their lead with their second interception of the match with less than ten minutes to play. The conversion made the score 24-12 to Bury but the hosts were determined to maintain their unbeaten record and reach the final.
Williams started the comeback with her second of the afternoon after Kenilworth strung together some great passes allowing the centre to cross in the right corner. That try made the score 24-17 with five minutes on the clock.
Sophie Henry then went over in the left corner to cut the deficit to two points and give her side real hope. The ball was whipped out to the wing after superb work from the Kenilworth pack took them to within five metres of the line and Henry danced past the defence to score.
That made the score 24-22 with just two minutes to play before Williams was on hand to touch down under the posts in injury time to secure her hat-trick and book her side's place in their first Cup final in dramatic style.
Speaking after the match, Kenilworth's captain, Rebecca Hill, said: "It was a really tough fixture this afternoon that required us to dig deep to get the win.
"Bury threw everything at us and it was a really physical encounter, but I'm just so proud of all the team for sticking at it and not giving up."
Kenilworth will now take on Supermarines on Saturday 21st April in the Intermediate Cup final.