BERKSWELL & BALSALL 5 KENILWORTH 15
A warm but overcast day at Honiley Road for this derby game which has provided some niggle in recent fixtures, writes Ralph Murray.
Although fielding a side shorn of some first-team choices (Messrs Lowthian, Glover and Selby) it was Kenilworth who made the early running and the Berkswell line was under considerable pressure. Eventually the pressure told and the referee decided that some of the methods being used to slow the visitors warranted a penalty. Hickman, normally so dependable, pushed his kick wide right and an early opportunity to score goes begging.
The next 15 mins saw Kenilworth take every opportunity to run the ball but their efforts went unrewarded due to poor decision-making or the final pass not going to hand. But Berkswell continued to live on the edge at the breakdown and another penalty was awarded to the Ks; no mistake this time as Josh Hickman scored the opening points of the afternoon.
With half an hour gone, Kenilworth were again threatening the Berkswell line when the referee blew for an infringement at the ruck; this was the proverbial straw and the Berkswell 8 saw yellow as the official's patience ran out. With the extra man advantage Kenilworth now looked to make hay and created 2 well-worked chances for, first Bobby Thompson and then Simon Tyler, but both failed to convert due to poor passing and not looking after the ball. Berkswell cleared their lines but the respite was temporary as winger Joe Jepps ran the ball back into the heart of the host's defence; Centre Ed Hannam was at the bottom of the ruck when an ugly incident was spotted by the ref but, apart from a talking-to, no further sanction was applied as the half-time whistle blew.
Ks started the second half with a bang! Gareth Renowden and Bobby Thompson combined from the base to put the 8 away for a good break and as the defence closed he found second row James Wadey who took the ball and smashed over for the first try of the day. A missed conversion limits the damage to 0-8. The game then entered a stagnant period with neither side making any significant inroads but as one Ken attack developed another Berkswell player off his feet was not penalised and some uninvited comments from Bobby Thompson sees the Kenilworth 8 shown a yellow for his troubles. With Berkswell having the extra man it was their turn to pile on the pressure but the visitor's defence held up well but, eventually, the pressure told and the home side were on the board. A missed conversion and it is a 3-point game.
Now Kenilworth sense the urgency and produced a spell of the most entertaining rugby of the afternoon. One particularly sparkling move involving fly half Arthur Haynes put flanker Mikel Andreson in the clear 20m out; it seemed a big ask but the 'Great Dane' thought otherwise and stepped the first tackler and crossed over the line underneath the sticks for the highlight of the game. The conversion made the visitors 5-15 to the good and with the game drawing to a tame close there was just time for one final twist. The Berkswell 9 fails in his attempt to tackle the Ks centre and trips him to prevent further progress – he looks incredulous as the yellow is once again brandished!
6 wins from 7 and Kenilworth's solid start continues. On Sat 25th Kenilworth entertain newly promoted Crewe & Nantwich in our first ever fixture. Before the game there is the second of Kenilworth's Charity Lunches for the Molly Olly Charity.