KENILWORTH 26 CREWE & NANTWICH 17
A delayed kick off due to the late arrival of Crewe & Nantwich allowed the Molly Olly Charity Lunch to finish and the large crowd to assemble to watch C&N's first ever visit to Glasshouse Lane and, ultimately saw Kenilworth record their seventh league win out of eight and their fifth successive league win.
The game started quietly with Kenilworth playing with the wind and the opening fifteen minutes saw the unfamiliar teams sizing each other up. A very early penalty to C&N was missed. Gradually Kenilworth began to establish control and on seventeen minutes a superb line-out take by the dependable Tom Lane saw the ball spread across the backs for back rower Pete Nancarrow to score close to the posts. The score was converted by Josh Hickman and Kenilworth had established an early and important 7-0 advantage. Kenilworth were now in full flow and another superb run from winger Joe Jepps took the ball close to the C&N line for second row James Wadey to score the second try, converted by Josh Hickman and Kenilworth had extended their lead to 14-0. Soon after Joe Jepps was rather harshly yellow carded for not releasing at a tackle and K's were down to 14 for the remainder of the half.
Kenilworth were now on top but soon after this second try they suffered a double set back when firstly centre Simon Tyler had to leave the field with an ankle injury, soon followed by his centre partner Ed Hannam with a shoulder injury. This was a big blow to Kenilworth as both centres had looked good in the opening minutes with both prominent in the tries scored. The resultant changes saw Alex Selby come on at scrum half with Gareth Renowden moving to centre. No8 Bobby Thompson also moved into the centre being replaced by Will Carlos. However the changes did not disrupt Kenilworth and after a number of try scoring chances were created (and after a C&N yellow card) Josh Hickman was successful with a penalty and a pleasing half-time score of 17-0.
C&N were now playing with the wind and early in the second half a decent attack from them resulted in their first converted try to make it 17-7. However the re-shaped Kenilworth team responded well and a superb Josh Hickman penalty extended the lead to 20-7 with around twenty minutes remaining. There was another period of stalemate but on 72 minutes C&N had a scrum on the Kenilworth line which resulted in a penalty quickly taken for a try, crucially not converted, at 20-12. Kenilworth were clearly becoming rattled with a few of the referees decisions and from one disputed penalty call C&N broke to score another try, again not converted and the game was now in the balance at 20-17 going into injury time. There were a few worried faces in the big Kenilworth crowd and there was a large sigh of relief as Kenilworth were awarded a penalty some 30+ meters out. Josh Hickman calmed a few nerves with a stupendous kick and it was now 23-17. C&N were now looking for the try to bring them victory and went close twice in the dying minutes but at last a referee's decision went our way and a penalty was awarded to clear the danger. Kenilworth were now trying to kill the game and were now in the C&N half and a first mistake from their very good No9 resulted in a line out to Kenilworth from which a penalty was awarded for Josh Hickman to seal the game 26-17 with another penalty.
Another superb win for Kenilworth against a decent looking C&N outfit. It was pleasing to see how they re-organised after losing both their influential centres. Next up is Earlsdon away on 1st Nov. For the record the Molly Olly Charity lunch raised an incredible £2570.