A game of two halves in which Kenilworth will rue their lack lustre performance in the first halve (lost 0 -19) but will have come away from sunny Kidderminster in the knowledge that their second halve performance (won 15 -8) confirms they have the ability and confidence to succeed in this competitive league, writes Pete Lindsay.
Unfortunately missed tackles at this level are more often than not capitalised on by the opposition and through this route it wasn’t long before Kidderminster were 7-0 up as their fly half/centre partnership ripped through Kenilworth’s defence. This was shortly followed by another try as Kidderminster put together a 50 metre play with excellent handling from their backs and forwards for their winger to score in the corner (12-0).
It wasn’t all one way traffic in the first halve but Kenilworth were finding it difficult to get their hands on the ball and stop the Kidderminster play at source. The clear difference between the sides at this stage was that Kenilworth couldn’t turn possession in to territory whereas Kidderminster always looked threatening. Kenilworth did have their chances and were beginning to look a more cohesive unit towards the end of the halve but often on the back foot it was inevitable that continued pressure by Kidderminster would force another try. This came just before half time when following a series of penalties inside Kenilworth’s 22, Kidderminster cut through Kenilworth’s defence to end the first halve 19-0 ahead.
Whether it was self- realisation of a poor performance or James Wadey’s tyrant of words that inspired the Kenilworth team during the break, the second halve was a very different affair. Kenilworth started strong and within 5 minutes following a typical bullocking run from Bobby Thompson and some good back play, Tom Kendall kicked a resultant penalty to get 3 points on the board (3 -19). The next 10 minutes saw a revitalised and determined Kenilworth team as they made threatening incursions into Kidderminster’s half, highlighted by an incisive break by fly half Harry O’Brien and made some solid defence, with Wadey leading by example and putting in a thumping tackle to halt a threatening attack. Kenilworth’s first try came from an attack out of defence, some excellent handling and recycling to put Tom Kendall clear (10 – 19). A stolen line out ball on Kenilworth’s 22 began the phases of play that would put Kenilworth within 4 points of Kidderminster. Excellent handling and inter play between backs and forwards ended in Wadey scoring in the corner (15 -19). Twenty minutes to go and Kenilworth were beginning to believe a turnaround was possible. However the toil of the afternoon was beginning to show as more injuries forced changes to the Kenilworth team (most notably the loss of Tom Kendall). However there was spirit and belief in Kenilworth’s play that had been missing in the first half and despite the loss of Andy Whitehall to a sin–binning both sides created opportunities and with 5 minutes to go Kenilworth were still in the game. However continued pressure from Kidderminster, but resilient defence from Kenilworth, meant Kidderminster had to rely on a drop goal to increase their lead to 22 -15 with 5 minutes to go.
For the more observant spectator it was clear that the referee’s dulcet tones were not typical this afternoon, more of a high pitch ‘ensemble’ and it was a shame that Nikki missed a blatant forward pass by Kidderminster as they ran the ball wide from a lineout to score in the corner 27-15. A bonus point was still in sight and with a few minutes to go Kenilworth came very close with continued pressure but were ultimately held up over the line with the last play of the game.
Kenilworth reflected on what might have been had they started the game as they finished and although Kenilworth deserved a losing bonus point, the Kidderminster win was well deserved.
Next week, 13 Oct: Intermediate Cup, Northampton BBOB away