Kenilworth Ladies reach Cup semi final with thrilling Barnsley win
Three tries in eleven second half minutes gave Kenilworth a 26-24 victory over Barnsley Ladies to book their place in the semi finals of the Intermediate Cup in their toughest fixture to date.
Barnsley came to Glasshouse Lane with an impressive record having secured back-to-back promotions since their formation just over three years ago. They are currently top of the league above Kenilworth and the visitors showed why with a try inside the opening 20 minutes.
Scrum half Jessica Roberts crossed in the 19th minute to open her side's account, dancing through the Kenilworth defence to score in the corner and open up a 5-0 lead.
After some strong defensive work in the opening stages, Kenilworth responded almost immediately with a converted try from centre Stav Williams just four minutes later. Beth Woodward crashed through the defence to within metres of the line before the ball was recycled and passed to Williams who powered through. Rebecca Lewis added the extras to give Kenilworth a 7-5 advantage.
With the half hour mark approaching, Barnsley regained the lead when an interception from Katie England allowed the fly half to touch down. The conversion from Becky Patrick restored Barnsley's five point lead.
That five-point lead became a 12-point lead at half time with a third try for the visitors, this time from centre Georgia Staples. Patrick once again added the extras on the stroke of half time to give her side a 19-7 lead at the interval.
After the break, Barnsley attacked the hosts' defence in the opening minutes but Kenilworth absorbed that pressure and opened the floodgates with a try from Sophie Henry. The winger was on hand to finish off Caroline Spence's break and touch down, closing the gap to seven points with the first of three Kenilworth tries in eleven minutes.
The hosts' seven point deficit soon became a seven-point lead with two tries in quick succession. The first of these came from Henry once again, who sprinted her way through the Barnsley defence to score having caught the ball deep inside her own 22. Lewis added the extras from the tee to level things up.
The second of these tries then came just moments later when Williams turned on the gas down the wing to score her second of the afternoon and give her side the lead for the first time. The conversion from Lewis made the score 26-19 with just under twenty minutes remaining.
However, Barnsley were determined not to let go of their unbeaten run. Some ferocious defensive work from the Yorkshire side prevented Kenilworth from extending their lead as the match neared its conclusion.
That determination came to the fore as Barnsley camped on Kenilworth's five metre line in the final minutes. Their efforts were rewarded, despite Kenilworth's resolute defence, when Staples crossed for her second of the match. Substitute Alix Taylor stepped up to take the conversion in injury time but the ball sailed just wide of the uprights to give Kenilworth a superb victory.
There are pics of the game HERE
The Ladies will play their semi final match at on Sunday 25th March at Glasshouse Lane against Bury St Edmunds. Prior to that, they have two league matches at Glasshouse Lane as they take on Olney this weekend and Rugby Lionesses on Sunday 11th March.