Kenilworth beat Crewe in away day thriller
Crewe & Nantwich 23 Kenilworth 27
Kenilworth ended their run of four defeats on Saturday, as they earned a crucial bonus point in a thrilling 27-23 victory away to Crewe and Nantwich, writes Sophie Freestone.
It was Crewe that started the brightest as they made their way to the Kenilworth 22 inside two minutes but the visitors' defence prevailed, earning a penalty just a few metres out from their own try line to prevent an early score from the home side.
A clever kick up field from scrum half Gareth Renowden shortly followed, giving Kenilworth great field position from which they worked their way into the Crewe 22 through a good attacking move. A penalty was the result of their efforts and Josh Hickman, starting his first match following injury, secured the points to give the visitors a 3-0 lead after 10 minutes.
Shortly after the restart, Kenilworth were awarded another penalty but a missed kick to touch proved costly as Crewe launched an attack up the left wing to score the opening try of the match. The conversion was missed to give the home side a 5-3 lead.
Midway through the first half Kenilworth were on the attack again and were rewarded with a try on the left wing from hooker Rob Gardner to give them an 8-5 lead after 20 minutes. The visitors continued to attack well, with prop Nick Collett making a great run up the middle.
Dangerous play crept into Crewe's game as they conceded a penalty for a high tackle, with one player also sent to the sin bin for a no-hands tackle. Kenilworth were unable to make the most of their one man advantage however, as Crewe kicked a penalty, to leave the score at 8-8, before the visitors missed a great opportunity to take the lead going into the break. Kenilworth had made their way inside the Crewe 22 but Josh Hickman couldn't get the pass away on the left wing and was driven into touch to leave the scores level at the break.
Kenilworth came out firing at the start of the second half as they scored two tries in five minutes, through Gareth Renowden and then Ed Hannam to give them a comfortable 20-8 lead with just over half an hour to play. Crewe responded well however, with a penalty and a try of their own, as they clawed their way back to within two points of Kenilworth with 25 minutes to go.
Both sides had attacking opportunities going into the final quarter, but it was Crewe that made them count, as they scored a try shortly after Kenilworth missed the opportunity to extend their lead with a penalty. With just seven minutes to go Crewe had a narrow 23-20 lead.
In a tense affair, Kenilworth did not give up; a great kick from Gareth Renowden resulted in a 5m line out for the visitors inside the Crewe half, before flanker Josh Fox went over in the right hand corner for a 76th minute try. Josh Hickman's excellent touch line conversion followed to secure a much needed and well deserved bonus point victory.
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