New boys Bridgnorth overpower under strength Kenilworth, writes Sophie Freestone.
Kenilworth slipped to their fourth defeat of the season at the weekend as they were beaten 29-7 away to newly-promoted Bridgnorth, a side they last visited when they won the league in 2007. Full back Jamie Mapletoft made his debut for the club, while top points scorer Josh Hickman and influential second row Simon Went, among a host of others, were unavailable through injury.
Facing a stiff wind and after some good defence from Kenilworth in the opening stages, including a cover tackle from winger Joe Jepps, Bridgnorth put the first points on the board with an unconverted try from scrum half Gareth Bladen on 10 minutes.
Kenilworth then went down to 14 men with second row Dan Careless yellow carded, and Bridgnorth made the most of their one man advantage, with full back Simon Fletcher slipping through to give the home side a 10-0 lead midway through the first half. Kenilworth attack sporadically but had to defend well in the second quarter as the half came to a close with the score-line remaining close, at 10-0, with Kenilworth having the advantage of the wind in the second half.
Bridgnorth came out firing at the start of the second half however, with a third unconverted try inside the first two minutes to extend their lead to 15 - 0. Despite the deficit, Kenilworth responded well and almost got a try of their own just three minutes later. A well worked attack down the left wing saw Adam Clifford in space out wide, only for the pass he received to be deemed forward by the referee.
Kenilworth were soon on the attack again and gained some good ground after stealing a line out, but the ball was lost and Bridgnorth capitalised on this to score their fourth try of the afternoon, securing the bonus point. With 25 minutes remaining, the score was 22-0.
Kenilworth were then denied by a forward pass for the second time, as Adam Clifford was once again on the attack down the left wing. This was followed by a period of defence for Kenilworth in which they cleared their lines twice in quick succession before Bridgnorth were once again across the whitewash as front row Jamie Ramsey broke through the defence to score under the posts. The converted try made the score 29-0 with seven minutes to go.
Kenilworth did not give up, however, and their patience was rewarded with a try under the posts in the 77th minute for Ollie Burnham, which Alex Selby converted for the final points of the match.
The defeat means Kenilworth have now dropped to eighth in the league having been top of the table after three games. Their next fixture is tomorrow (Saturday), at home, against Burton.
Pics available at Burton Pics