Kenilworth concede late try as Earlsdon retain Warwickshire Shield
Kenilworth conceded a 70th minute try against Earlsdon as the Coventry side came from behind to retain the Warwickshire Shield in a tense final at Barkers' Butts, writes Sophie Freestone.
Kenilworth had opened up a 10-point lead that they held onto until the 53rd minute before Earlsdon scored 13 unanswered points to see them home.
The match started with Earlsdon looking bright in attack but Kenilworth's defence held firm to prevent the Coventry side from breaking through. They withstood the early Earlsdon pressure for much of the opening 15 minutes before gaining territory in the opposition half.
Once Kenilworth had ventured into Earlsdon's half it didn't take them long to convert that field position into points. In a well worked move, captain Bobby Thompson put the first points of the match on the board with a try in the left hand corner. The conversion from Simon Tyler fell just short of the uprights from out wide as Kenilworth came away with five points from their first visit into the Earlsdon 22.
Ten minutes later, and with Kenilworth's defence once again preventing Earlsdon from crossing the whitewash, Earlsdon were rewarded a penalty for their attacking efforts. The kick fell just short however, and the score remained at 5-0 as the half hour mark approached.
It was at that point that Kenilworth extended their lead, once again ensuring they came away with something from a period of pressure in the Earlsdon 22. In a similar fashion to the previous try Kenilworth almost crossed before prop Dan Roberts burrowed his way over the line, again in the left corner, to extend his side's lead to ten points. Tyler was short with the conversion from a difficult angle out wide.
The second half began in a similar way to the first, with Earlsdon working their way into Kenilworth territory and their efforts were rewarded after 47 minutes when the referee blew for a penalty. However, the kick drifted wide of the uprights in the Barkers' Butts breeze to leave the score at 10-0 to the Glasshouse Lane outfit.
Six minutes later Earlsdon were awarded their third penalty of the match and they made no mistake this time. The ball sailed through the posts as Callum Forsyth scored their first points of the match to put his side within seven points of levelling things up.
As the match wore on Earlsdon began to get a foothold in the game, testing the Kenilworth defence that had been so strong throughout the match. Their efforts paid off with 15 minutes to go, however, as they eventually broke through to cross the line. Rob Fisher scooped up loose ball inside his own half and sprinted to score a counter attacking try in the left corner to close the gap to just two points. The conversion would have levelled the scores but fell just short to keep Kenilworth ahead by 10-8.
Throughout the match Kenilworth's defence had held firm but Earlsdon were soon back on the scoreboard, this time through Martin Wood. His try nudged his side into a three-point lead with nine minutes to play but the conversion was missed to leave the score at 13-10 as the match entered its final stages.
Kenilworth continued to pressure the Earlsdon defence as the match drew to a close with some excellent penalty kicks to the corner from fly half Alex Selby gaining them ground and giving them an excellent attacking platform. His side couldn't quite take advantage though, and Earlsdon held on to secure victory and retain the Warwickshire Shield.
Catch the pics of the game (thanks to Johnny Marsh) HERE
Kenilworth are next in action on Saturday when they return to league action away to Berkswell & Balsall. Kick off is at 2:15pm.