Top played bottom when Kenilworth 1st XV sought to continue their push for promotion when visiting Upton on Severn RFC on a grey and overcast day in Worcestershire.
After some early exchanges between both sides, Kenilworth soon started to settle in to their now customary organised and fully committed style of playing and an indication as to their likely supremacy was given when Jack Gibson made the first real break of the game feeding Jimmy Middleton, on Kenilworth’s left wing, who chased his own kick ahead to within 10 metres of the Upton try line. From the ensuing lineout, the ball was moved swiftly across the back line to Simon Tyler who cut inside but was held up by spirited Upton defence. The ball was however, quickly and efficiently recycled to scrum half Gareth Renowden, who scored a trade mark try by darting quickly between the nearby defence to score a good opening team try. The try converted by Mr Reliable – Tom Kendle.
In only a matter of seconds Gareth Renowden again went over the Upton try line when soon after the re-start a good tackle by Nyle Beckett leads to a quick turnover of possession when Gareth Renowden fed inspirational skipper Johnny Creswell , who drove relentlessly forward towards the beckoning Upton line and upon realising he needed support, fed an inside ball to the energetic Renowden who crossed to score again. Kendle again converts.
The game by now was being played at a lively pace by both sides but the likewise both sides were being somewhat hampered by the extremely heavy state of the pitch, the Upton pitch being completely submerged by water only a few weeks previously. Nevertheless both sides continued to try to play rugby although their considerable effort and attempted enterprise were being stifled by the conditions. However, it was Kenilworth and that man Renowden who could only be stifled for so long when the energetic and hungry Renowden crossed the line yet again to complete his hat trick. Kendall does not converts to make the score 19 – 0 in Kenilworth’s favour.
With Kenilworth now in sight of that all important bonus point sustained pressure and good movement of the ball between Kenilworth’s hands Dom Sheehan again crosses the line for a try on the stroke of half time. Yes – Kendall converts the try again to make the half time score 26-0 in Kenilworth’s favour.
Kenilworth started the second half in the same fashion as they ended the First when Gibson made a great break. His route towards the Upton line taking him towards the right wing where he found winger Beckett in support. Beckett, showing a great turn of speed and fleet of foot on the tacky surface stepped inside beating two defenders on his way to a great score under the posts. Kendall converts....
Kenilworth continued to press, and after some 10 or more minutes of determined Upton resistance Kenilworth scored their 6th try of the game with Steve Todd crashing over leaving the Upton defence flatfooted. Kendall again converts.
The game by now was very much one sided although Upton never at any point gave up the fight and were in fact to be re-warded with an unconverted try.
With Kenilworth dominant a great move seemingly involving all 15 Kenilworth players passing and off loading the ball one first one way then the other, resulting in the ball finally going out wide to a ‘lurking’ Ross Lowthian who finally crossed the try line for what would have been the try of the season – only to lose control of the ball in the act of scoring!
However Kenilworth were to score further tries through the ever reliable Bobby Thompson from a pushover scrum and stalwart Nick Collet driving over from a planned line out move. Becket also crossed for his second try just managing to touch a cross kick down before the ball ran dead. Although the referee was some distance from the touchdown he awarded the try on the ‘nod’ of the chasing Upton defender – a nice touch from a well beaten side. It should be noted that Kendall successfully converted 7 out of 9 tries – a really impressive return given the extremely difficult kicking conditions.
Whilst the conditions made playing rugby difficult Kenilworth continued throughout all of the 80 minutes to seek to play in a manner that dominated the opposition, dominated possession and continually sought ways of breaching the Upton defence. It would have been easy to sit back and play the game out when they so very early on had the bonus points win in the bag. This is no ordinary Kenilworth side – they simply keep going – a team for the club to be proud of...