Beautiful day at Glasshouse to welcome back our most distant player Takerei Norton from Christchurch, New Zealand and it didn’t take long for him to put his mark on the game.
Kenilworth’s first serious attack saw Norton charge down the left wing and put Todd away but the ball was lost forward in an attempt to ground the ball. This was to prove only a temporary delay in opening the score as the next attack saw some slick interplay between Renowden and Norton which was finished off by Sheehan under the posts. Almost from the restart Ks won a lineout 15m out from the Bedworth line and Openshaw secured good ball for Renowden with the ball eventually fining Phillips at second receiver who rounded his man before offloading to Kendall on the left flank. Middleton, backing up well, received the inside ball 5m out but still had much to do with 2 Bedworth defenders between him and the line. But the winger showed great strength to force his way over and secure the second try of the afternoon.
From the restart Ks secured the ball at the ensuing ruck and began a move form well inside their own half. The ball was moved quickly to Tyler out on the right wing who then began a great series of passes with Sheehan and Norton which ended in a score for the New Zealander under the posts. The entire Kenilworth XV were now playing with such precision and tempo that a record score was on the cards and the next attack saw a sublime offload from Dodd to Lowthian who rampaged towards the line but the ball was lost in contact. Ks eventually won a scrum 5m out and Renowden moving left exploited a wide blindside to go over unopposed.
The rout was now on and almost immediately form the restart the backs again exhibited superb handling with Tyler at the heart of it; his final pass putting O’ Brien away with still a long way to go but the out half put the burners on to beat the chasing defenders and score in the corner. As previously stated, ALL the XV were playing at a level which was irresistible and the next attack saw the ball kicked ahead; Openshaw was the first to arrive and showed a cool head and some deft footwork to nudge the ball ahead and score in the corner.
No let up from the home side as they again probed near the Bedworth line with a series of pick-and-drives; Sheehan appeared to have been held up but out popped Dodd with the ball to bring the first half scoring to a close at 41-0.
Bedworth, to their credit, never threw in the towel and a period of sustained pressure close to the Ks line was the main action at the start of the second half. But great work by Gibson secured the ball and put Tyler away on a break down the left wing and with the defenders closing found Middleton backing up well. The winger still had half the field to go but outrun the defence to score his second of the afternoon. Straight form the restart Flowers collected the kick-off and finds O’Brien on the inside line who times his pass to perfection to put Sheehan in under the posts. New father Kendall adds 2 to make the score 55-0.
Bedworth, again pinned down close to their line, attempted to run their way out of trouble but Thompson anticipated well to intercept the pass and score under the posts. Play was halted due to what seemed a serious injury to the Bedworth winger and his replacement, with his first touch, found himself on the right wing facing three defenders but stepped neatly inside to open the visitors’’ account.
Normal service was resumed almost immediately as the Ks took the restart and produced another series of passes between forwards and backs to put replacement Selby over for another score. Bedworth would not give up and for almost 5 minutes pounded the Ks line but were kept out by some outstanding defence – great to see such commitment from a side that were 70+ points to the good! But eventually the pressure told and Bedworth scored a consolation try which was just reward for their unstinting efforts. But, in a final statement of intent, Kenilworth stormed back up the pitch to finish off proceedings for a deserved try for Tyler.
This was the most complete performance of the season and the players should be justifiably proud of their efforts; apart from the scintillating handling there was some resolute defence when the game was all but won. But of most value was the understanding and belief the players showed in each other and this will be a priceless commodity as the season heads towards the business end.