Last-gasp Barkers' try snatches the spoils at Kenilworth
Kenilworth suffered a heart-breaking 46-41 defeat on Saturday with Barkers' Butts scoring an injury time try to give them victory in a thriller at Glasshouse Lane, writes Sophie Freestone.
In match that saw the lead change hands on multiple occasions, it was the visitors that came out on top. A Kenilworth clearance was charged down five metres out with the clock past 80 minutes and Barkers' were on hand to secure victory.
The match started in the same way that it finished, with the visitors opening the scoring early on with a converted try. Kenilworth then responded with a try of their own through Jai Purewal. The replacement intercepted the ball to score under the posts, with fly half Alex Selby adding the extras to level things up.
With 21 minutes on the clock, Barkers' retook the lead, with an opportunistic try. A second row scooped up loose ball just outside Kenilworth's 22 before touching down. The try was converted to give the visitors a seven-point lead.
Kenilworth once again struck back, however, with Purewal crossing in space on the left after the ball was whipped out to the wing. The conversion went just wide of the uprights to close the gap to two points at 14-12 to Barkers'.
That two point deficit didn't last long though, with Barkers' extending their lead just before half time with their third of the afternoon. The conversion was missed to give the hosts a 21-12 lead at the end of the final forty.
After the break, the visitors stretched their advantage to 14 points as they secured the bonus point with just 41 minutes on the clock. The conversion was missed to leave the score at 26-12.
Second row Raj Bahey then responded for Kenilworth by touching down on the left wing to cut Barkers' lead to nine points. The score remained at 26-17 with Selby's conversion going just wide of the mark.
A penalty from Barkers' followed by a fifth try then extended their lead to 19 points. The visitors broke away from the Kenilworth defence to score on the right and the conversion was added to make the score 36-17 with twenty minutes remaining.
With the hosts behind by 19 points they had a mountain to climb but it proved to be a mountain they were more than capable of climbing. The comeback started with a try from Selby whose lucky kick through sat up perfectly and the number ten gathered to touch down on the right after 64 minutes. The conversion was missed but Kenilworth had started to eat into Barkers' comfortable lead.
That try opened the floodgates and Barkers' lead was then cut even further when Mikkel Andresen scored with 13 minutes to play. The number eight powered through the Barkers' defence to touch down under the posts. Selby had no trouble with the conversion to add the extras and make the score 36-29 with just over ten minutes to play.
The visitors were then reduced to 14 players with a yellow card and Kenilworth didn't take long to capitalise on their one man advantage. Flanker Will Johnson found himself in space on the left to touch down and bring his side to within two points of Barkers'. The score remained at 36-34 with 73 minutes on the clock following the missed conversion.
If that wasn't enough drama for the Glasshouse Lane faithful, there was plenty more to come in the final five minutes. Having been 19 points down with 60 minutes on the clock, Kenilworth took the lead for the first time as the match entered the closing stages. Andresen was once again on hand to barge his way through the Barkers' defence and touch down by the posts. Selby's conversion was good to nudge his side into a 41-36 lead with three minutes to play.
Barkers' were not finished however, with the hosts levelling just moments later with a try on the left to set up a grandstand finish. With just one minute on the clock the scores were level at 41-41 and things seemed to be heading for a draw.
However, with Barkers' pressurising the hosts' line in the closing stages, Kenilworth regained possession but the resulting clearance kick was charged down. The visitors gathered the ball score the winning try on the left for a 46-41 victory.
It was a cruel ending for Kenilworth whose superb comeback put them just three minutes away from victory. They couldn't quite hang on however, and Barkers' came out on top in dramatic style.
Pics of the game can be viewed HERE
Kenilworth are next in action on Sunday afternoon when they travel to Barkers', this time to take on Earlsdon in the final of the Warwickshire Shield.