Kenilworth Ladies' perfect start to the season continued at Glasshouse Lane on Sunday, securing a comprehensive 57-0 victory over Old Northamptonians to keep them at the top of the league. Winger Phoebe Howles was in fine form scoring a hat trick, with winger Sophie Henry and centre Felicity Baldwin both scoring two tries apiece in the 11-try rout, writes Sophie Freestone.With ideal conditions for an afternoon of running rugby, it didn't take long for the hosts to get their first points of the match. Old Northamptonians were camped on on their own five metre line, with Rebecca Lane charging down a clearance kick straight into the arms of number eight Caroline Spence who barged her way over in the right corner for a 5-0 lead.
Just four minutes later Kenilworth were back on the score board, this time through centre Beth Woodward. Having won a scrum against the head, powerful running from Woodward saw her break through a gaping hole in the Old Northamptonians defence to touch down under the posts. Rebecca Lewis added the extras from the tee for a 12-0 lead inside the opening ten minutes.
The following 15 minutes saw Old Northamptonians gain some territory in the Kenilworth half but strong defence, solid clearance kicks and dominant scrummaging staved off any threat of an attack from the visitors. Winger Sophie Henry then continued her impressive try-scoring record when Kenilworth made the most of a mismatch on the wing and Henry raced past a prop to score on the right, giving her side a comfortable 17-0 lead as the half hour mark approached.
With the first half entering the final ten minutes Kenilworth's pack continued to dominate at scrum time before Kenilworth regained possession and the ball was shipped out to Phoebe Howles on the left wing. The speedster left the Old Northamptonians defence in her wake to score in the corner and open her try-scoring account for the afternoon.
It took just four minutes before Howles was back on the score board with her second of the match as Kenilworth found themselves securing the bonus point inside the opening forty. Quick thinking set up an excellent counter attack from Kenilworth with Woodward offloading to Baldwin who found Howles in space on the left for an easy run in and a 27-0 half time lead.
Kenilworth started the second half in the same way that they finished the first, this time scoring straight from the kick off through Baldwin. Having strung some accurate passes together inside the Old Northamptonians 22, Baldwin found herself in space to score her side's sixth try of the match for a 32-0 lead.
Like Howles, Baldwin wasted no time in putting herself back on the scoreboard, using footwork to make her way round the full back and score her second of the match immediately after the restart. That try gave a score of 37-0 with just 44 minutes on the clock.
As the end of the third quarter approached Howles wrapped up her hat trick. Her pace saw her beat the visitors' defence to cross in the left corner to extend her side's lead to 42 points.
After a series of tries from the backs, the forwards joined the party with flanker Janine McComiskey going over from close range. It was Kenilworth's ninth try of the afternoon, coming after 65 minutes, and took her side to within touching distance of the fifty point mark at 47-0.
The half century was reached just three minutes later when full back Helena Allison-Moore broke past the visitors' defence. Some some strong running from the number fifteen saw her score on the right for a 52-0 advantage.
Kenilworth's eleventh, and last, try of the afternoon came with the final play of the match, with Sophie Henry adding to her previous score. The winger once again showed her deadly pace to beat the Old Northamptonians defenders and round off an impressive 57-0 victory for the newly-promoted Kenilworth.
The Ladies are next in action on Sunday, when Old Northamptonians welcome them to Billing Road for the first round of the Women's Intermediate Cup.