Kenilworth stutter past Nuneaton Old Edwardians to keep pressure on Malvern
Kenilworth returned to winning ways on Saturday with a nerve-wracking 21-18 victory over Nuneaton Old Edwardians to keep the pressure on play-off rivals Malvern, writes Sophie Freestone.
Having gone behind after thirteen minutes to a penalty from the hosts, Kenilworth took the lead six minutes later when Charlie Stevens finished off a well-worked move following a five metre scrum. Alex Selby added the extras to give his side a 7-3 advantage.
In a match where opportunities were few and far between, Kenilworth were unable to build on their lead and 34 minutes were on the clock before Nuneaton Old Edwardians closed the gap. The hosts had a line out just five metres from the Kenilworth line and the subsequent driving maul saw them cross the whitewash for their first try of the match. The conversion nudged the hosts into a one-point lead.
Nuneaton Old Edwardians continued to pressurise the visitors, pushing for a more comfortable half time lead. Their efforts were rewarded after 37 minutes when Kenilworth were penalised for entering the maul from the side and the hosts added the extras for an 11-7 lead at the break.
Kenilworth came out of the blacks strongly in tthe second half, however, regaining the lead after 46 minutes. Flanker Mikkel Andresen touched down after a five metre line out was driven to the Nuneaton try line to put his side back in front. Substitute Simon Tyler made no mistake with the conversion to give the hosts a 14-11 lead with just over 30 minutes to play.
Possession ebbed and flowed between the two sides but neither was able to capitalise until the 58th minute when Kenilworth crossed for their third try of the afternoon. David Bromfield was on hand to touch down by the posts after Andresen made a trademark break, barging through the hosts' defence. Tyler was again on target with the conversion as Kenilworth held a 10-point cushion going into the final quarter.
Despite their 21-11 lead Kenilworth were unable to add to their tally for the match, instead allowing Nuneaton Old Edwardians to come back and set up a grandstand finish at Weddington Road. The hosts closed the gap with 70 minutes on the clock thanks to a superb length-of the field try from centre Craig Jones. The hosts withstood pressure from Kenilworth in their own 22 and broke away to ensure the match went right down to the wire following the conversion that made the score 21-18.
The hosts continued to apply pressure in Kenilworth's 22 but valiant defending from the visitors ensured Nuneaton Old Edwardians didn't cross for the crucial score. Kenilworth held on to secure victory and keep up the pressure on play-off rivals Malvern who secured a 66-17 victory over Leamington. Kenilworth are next in action on Saturday as they travel to Evesham in a rearanged fixture.