Kenilworth 45 Malvern 7
Kenilworth welcomed Malvern to a bright and blustery Jack Davies Memorial Ground for the final game of a season which saw Kenilworth consolidate after promotion the previous year. The visitors, having lost last week to Berkswell and Balsall, were already condemned to relegation and we wish them well having suffered a similar scenario with consecutive relegations of our own before rebuilding and rebranding.
The game opened brightly for the K's with a regulation catch and drive securing position for Cresswell to crash over leaving Kendall with a difficult kick which he nailed with his customary accuracy. The next period was dominated by scrappy play with errors, penalties aplenty and a kick by Cresswell which would have secured the Parrot if essayed by a Pirate. Malvern took heart from K's inability to string phases together and were camped on the 5m line with several attacking scrums but a typical Renowden snaffle led to great hands releasing Beckett to half way only to be undone by a penalty and a further 10 metres for backchat - an increasingly frustrating facet of K's approach to discipline. Tyro flanker Jones was prominent with his trademark chop tackles and following one such intervention Tyler was able to clear. A scrum on halfway led to a textbook 8,9,14 combination allowing Hickman to go over with the extras added by Kendall and leaving the coaches hoping that structured play would yield greater success than end of season sevens' frolics. A subsequent break by Sheehan promised more but ball retention was sloppy again and yet another great break out led to nothing after some initially sumptuous handling with Renowden, Thompson and Beckett to the fore. Half time arrived with a 14 -0 lead.
The second half began with a nasty collision leading to Kendall leaving the field with a rearranged nose bringing Rhys Jones onto the field for his first appearance in the ones for several years. His father, having chosen the delights of La Traviata at the Royal Opera House over those of Glasshouse Lane, missed a delightful cameo. His first touch led to a length of the field try finished off by Hickman who landed a superb conversion from the touchline. This set the pattern for most of the remainder of the second half with Kenilworth, who had bolstered affairs with the experience of Collett and Wadey, threatening every time they gained possession. Hannam was next on the scoresheet then a Rhys Jones steal from a promising Malvern lineout restored possession and minutes later Thompson released Renowden under the sticks for a converted try which took the score to 33 -0. Thompson was next to cross but Malvern, who never gave up the ghost fashioned a score for their industrious scrum half, Longley, after numerous phases in the K's 22. The final score was a beauty. From a scrum on their own 22 Renowden fed Sheehan on a great angle before taking the return and feeding Thompson who in turn released Jones for his maiden first team try. Hickman added the extras to leave the final score at 45-7.
The second half showcased Kenilworth at their best; swift and accurate passing allied to clever angles of running and selfless support play led to some of the best tries seen this season. All in all a satisfactory end to a season which had promised better on the run in to Christmas and an opportunity to build for next season in what is a very competitive league with teams generally playing an attacking brand of rugby.