Relegation from Midlands One was confirmed at the splendid Wassell Grove headquarters of old Halesonians, against the backdrop of the quaint Clent Hills and in foul cold,rainy and windy weather, the latter making the ball like a piece of wet soap, with inevitable consequences for both sides. Compared to last week's performance at Whitchurch, this was a marked all-round improvement by Kenilworth, against the team who finished the season third in the table (writes Bob Jones).
Before all in a sizeable crowd had taken their seats in an impressive stand, and with the Ks defence caught napping, the home side had touched down and converted, leaving the few visiting supporters fearing the worst. How wrong this proved. With the return of Gareth Renowden to his normal position at scrum-half, plus the inclusion of wily old campaigner Jamie Peacock at full-back, playing an important role, the visitors, while creating little, and with the aid of the slippery ball, did a more than adequate job of containing the stream of attacks that materialized during the first quarter. For the remainder of the half, they posed more of an attacking threat, with a typical Bobby Thompson surge and Renowden break, the highlights. Referee Chris Rogers, who had a good game, was kept busy by a series of offences and errors, as both sides probed for openings.
From the outset of the second half, the Old Halesonians forwards, hitherto contained, began to turn the screw, notably in the tight. Increasingly forced to live off scraps as a result, Kenilworth did well when opportunities arose. A Nyle Beckett dash, carried on by Will Owen and Ross Lowthian proximal to the home line, ended with a penalty to Old Hales for not releasing. Then a tap-and-go, orchestrated by Jonny Openshaw and Jonny Cresswell, induced panic in the home ranks. The Worcestershire outfit were always likely to engineer a good move, usually via their pack, and one such was thwarted by a timely Peacock intervention. As the game entered its final quarter, the classiest break of the contest came from Owen. Receiving the ball in his own 22, he employed the full skill-set in progressing to near the home equivalent. With the cover closing in, a deft punt saw Adam Clifford in hot pursuit, but the ball went forward as the line beckoned. With a prolonged hail-storm in full flow, the error and penalty count continued to mount. Pressure in the set-piece eventually led to a second try for Old Halesonians. With four minutes of normal time remaining, and having got the put-in after disrupting a Ks scrum in their 22, a drive to near the line was finished with a neat snipe.
Kenilworth: Graur, Cresswell (Capt), Lowthian, Flowers, Openshaw, Purewal, Jenkinson, Thompson, Renowden, Sheehan, Clifford, Owen, Tyler, Beckett, Peacock. Replacements: Bowden, Andrew, Rowley.