Another good display, which largely consisted of attractive attacking rugby in the first half and dogged defence in the second, saw Kenilworth leave Peel Croft with another priceless bonus point, courtesy of four tries, as their battle for Midlands One survival entered its final throes (writes Bob Jones).
Burton set out their stall directly from the kick-off with a punt that was ushered into touch close to the Kenilworth line. A catch and drive from the resulting lineout was held up over the line. The five-metre-scrum that followed was well marshalled by the visitors, as were several ensuing sharp attacks. This pressure suddenly ceased and it was the visitors who clicked into top gear. Clean lineout ball from Chris Wood led to a break by Simon Tyler, whose transfer to Will Owen put him away for a try after five minutes, which his co-centre did not convert. The hosts had a chance to open their account soon afterwards, when the Ks strayed offside, but the normally reliable boot of Dave Archer was off-target. However, he was back on-song almost immediately, this time successful with the penalty-goal attempt after the Ks went into a ruck from the side. It was helter-skelter stuff, and within three minutes, Kenilworth had stretched their lead. Good work by Chris Muncaster enabled the ball to be swiftly moved wide, with the recipient of the final pass, Nyle Beckett, going over wide out, and Tyler adding the extras. Another offside by the visitors nearly cost them, as Archer's penalty rebounded from an upright, and a timely interception by Beckett then prevented a score. The pitch was hard and uneven, and claimed its first victim in Wood, with a dislocated shoulder, on 25 minutes, Jonny Openshaw coming on. This seemed to disrupt the Ks rhythm, and within three minutes, the irrepressible Archer broke clear to touch down under the posts, then convert, to narrow the gap to two points. Tyler missed a relatively straightforward penalty attempt after Burton had failed to release the ball on the ground, but then redeemed himself with a storming break and try, which he also converted to open up a nine-point lead on 33 minutes. With referee Fergus Ross playing time added, more Burton pressure paid dividends. A drive in the Ks 22 by their powerful pack - a foretaste of what was to come after the interval- culminated in a try, converted by Archer. They were nearly away again before Mr Ross concluded the half, but a splendid clearance by Alex Selby saved the day.
Perhaps the fact that Kenilworth somehow managed to be in front of the kicker at the restart was an omen. Whatever, it heralded an almost constant bombardment from the Staffordshire side, built around their muscular pack, which continued until the final whistle. Gareth Renowden replaced Selby after a few minutes. The home side, already having had a man forced to retire with what also appeared to be a shoulder injury during the first half, then lost another with a nasty-looking one that necessitated a stretcher and ambulance. Kenilworth were now forced into full, and sometimes desperate, defensive mode. They were coping well, until Jonny Cresswell was sent to the sin-bin for deliberate offside. His absence told, with the home side making hay in the ten minutes. Archer edged them into the lead with a penalty, then after interplay with his centre partner Lewis Brooks, crossed for an unconverted try. Tom Nicholson was forced to retire with a hamstring problem, Sam Flowers replacing him. Valiantly that the entire Kenilworth side covered and tackled, such an onslaught had to bear more fruit. A sweeping move paved the way for centre Lewis Brooks to touch down. Archer added the extras, to make the lead thirteen points, with just over ten minutes of normal time remaining. Managing to get some possession, with Renowden and Owen instrumental in using it, the Ks strove for a fourth try, bonus point and the possibility of a second for their losing margin. They got the try, Dominic Sheehan outpacing the cover, but Tyler was off-target with the conversion. Beckett then looked to be on his way to the line but play was brought back for a forward pass. The final minutes, including numerous added, witnessed a heroic defensive effort by Kenilworth, as the Burton pack pounded away in the 22. It was perhaps a fitting end that having soaked up all this pressure, the action concluded after the home side had knocked on with the line at their mercy.
Kenilworth: Muncaster, Cresswell (Capt), Collett, Graur, Nicholson, Dickson, Wood, Thompson, Selby, Sheehan, Clifford, Owen, Tyler, Beckett, Whitehall. Replacements: Renowden, Openshaw, Flowers.