Kenilworth put in an impressive performance at Glasshouse Lane on Saturday to secure a 34-5 bonus point victory over Nuneaton Old Edwardians, bouncing back in style after their disappointing loss to Malvern, writes Sophie Freestone.
The visitors started the match strongest, scoring a try on their first venture deep into the Kenilworth twenty two. Winger Tay Brown was on hand to touch down by the posts after a five metre line out gave the visitors good field position and put the Kenilworth defence under serious pressure. The conversion attempt went wide of the uprights to give the hosts a 5-0 lead.
Kenilworth responded well however, and soon scored a try of their own. Excellent play with accurate passing saw Harry Kaufman in space on the left wing and the centre dived over in the corner to open his side's account. Fly half Alex Selby's conversion drifted to left of the posts as Kenilworth levelled the score at 5-5 with 14 minutes on the clock.
Four minutes later and the hosts were back on the score board, this time through Selby who dotted down under the posts after Kenilworth were awarded a penalty deep in the Nuneaton OEs' twenty two. Scrum half Gareth Renowden caught the visitors napping, taking the quick tap penalty before offloading to Selby for the try. Selby then added the extras from the tee for a 12-5 lead inside the opening 20 minutes.
Nuneaton then found themselves down to 14 men after 22 minutes when fly half Tom Burdett was shown a yellow card for killing the ball just five metres out from his side's try line. Selby made no mistake with the penalty, slotting the three points to extend his side's lead to 15-5 midway through the opening forty.
With Kenilworth holding a ten point advantage they continued to push for the try that would give them a comfortable two score lead at half time. Their efforts were rewarded four minutes into injury time when full back Rob Thomason kicked through. Good pressure from the chasing Rhys Jones put Nuneaton OEs' defence under the pressure in their own 22, forcing the turnover. The ball then moved infield with prop Jimmy Scott going over under the posts. Selby's conversion ensured his side had a 17 point cushion at the break with the score at 22-5 in Kenilworth's favour.
Kenilworth's next target was to secure the four-try bonus point and that's exactly what they did 10 minutes into the second half. Having strung together a series of phases the hosts made their way into the Nuneaton OEs' twenty two with prop Dan Minks finding himself on the wing to score in the corner. Selby nudged the conversion to the left of the posts to keep the score at 27-5.
Things then went from bad to worse for the visitors when Burdett was sent off after receiving a second yellow for dissent. Kenilworth wasted no time in making the most of their one man advantage, with the resulting penalty giving them good field position with a five metre line out. After a few phases of play, number eight Mikkel Andresen powered over by the posts from close range for the hosts' fifth try of the afternoon. The conversion from Selby made the score 34-5 going into the final quarter.
With twenty minutes remaining fourteen-man Nuneaton Old Edwardians had a mountain to climb to get themselves back in the match and, at times, they showed their attacking threat, with much of the final quarter played inside Kenilworth territory. However, they were unable to penetrate the defence and the hosts secured a much-needed 34-5 victory to remain unbeaten at home in the league.
The result sees Kenilworth climb to fourth in the league on 11 points after three matches. Next up for Kenilworth on Saturday 14th October is a trip to Old Yardleians, who will be looking to get their first league points of the season having lost all three matches so far.
For high resolution images of this match, please click HERE.