Lichfield 74 Kenilworth 7
Kenilworth travelled to Cooke Fields in Lichfield to take on the runaway league leaders on yet another superb pitch whose dimensions suited Lichfield's all court game to a tee, writes Glyn Owen.
Work in the week had concentrated on two things: defending Lichfield's propensity to attack with pace in the wider channels and having the belief to attack with ball in hand when the opportunity presented itself. The best laid plans were, however, blown away in a superb performance by the home team in every facet of play and whilst some generous Lichfield supporters opioned that the margin was perhaps slightly flattering, the almost total dominance of the men in green was not in question.
Kenilworth started brightly enough going through several quick phases before a knock on gifted Lichfield possession and, in the story of the afternoon, pace and precision took them down the left hand wing for their first try. This was replicated three minutes later with slick inter-passing to charge down the same channel with the same result.
Kenilworth were to have one of their better spells during the next fifteen minutes with forwards and backs testing the Lichfield defence. Unusually Lichfield opted to clear their lines via the boot and the poor kick gave Kens a chance to counter. The chance was snatched at, a knock on ensued, and Lichfield created a glorious set piece move reminiscent of the Leinster/Ireland midfield with a wrap around between 10 and 12 and the full back hitting the line at pace to go over.
Kens came back again with another period of sustained pressure and a series of penalties gave them a lineout on Lichfield's 5 metre line. A mix up lost possession and Lichfield swept upfield to press on K's line again. Great defence led to a turn over and a 5 metre scrum with K's feed but the resultant attempt to clear was charged down leading to another Lichfield try and a lead of 24 - 0.
The final act of the half led to a free kick with K's scrum under pressure and quick hands led to a popular try for the Lichfield 8 who apparently avoided a heinous forfeit by managing to cross the whitewash. The half time whistle followed with the score 31-0 to the home side.
The second half saw a 'harum scarum' start with Kenilworth continuing to battle gamely. A trademark Cresswell carry and great tackles by Renowden and Nancarrow began to ruffle some Lichfield feathers but the home side continued to exploit any mistake and a loose ball was snapped up to lead to another converted try which was shortly followed by a pushover try from a 5 metre scrum. Kenilworth began to ring the changes and welcomed Trafford for a rare appearance. A great cover tackle from the good doctor drew a penalty for some respite and Kenilworth put some good phases together with fly half Glover continuing to test the Lichfield midfield by attacking the gain line bravely and slipping passes to supporting runners. Lichfield, however, regained possession and following worthy scramble defence - K's never gave up in this facet of play - numbers told and Lichfield went over to take the score to 48-0 on sixty minutes.
From the restart Beckett, who had chased hanging kicks to good effect, managed to recover possession and good phases led to a penalty thirty metres out. A quick tap eventually led to Beckett finishing superbly in the corner for a well deserved try which drew applause from the home supporters. Hickman added the difficult extras.
In their best spell of the half Kenilworth threatened again and a great break by Glover might have led to another consolation score but the Lichfield openside, who had scavenged to great effect all afternoon, snaffled the ball to lead to an attack which led to a try. Trafford was enjoying his cameo, looking for work off his wing but when Kenilworth failed to deal with a high kick the bouncing ball was claimed by the winger to finish under the sticks.
Kenilworth kept trying to play but running from deep in the final minute a pass was intercepted by Lichfield to conclude the scoring.
So, what to take from the afternoon's events? A never say die attitude persisted despite the score-line and the K's were always looking to score tries with limited possession. Next week brings a blank Saturday and then a run of four games which will define our season in many ways. Malvern at home on the 22nd should provide an enthralling encounter with the Worcestershire side looking for points to push for survival and Kenilworth looking to arrest the run of poor results.