A grey overcast afternoon at Glasshouse accompanied by a biting wind did not augur well for an entertaining game. The task for Kenilworth would be to reproduce the form on display in the recent Warwickshire Cup fixture between the two teams, writes Ralph Murray.
Kenilworth got off to a busy start and the opening minutes were spent almost exclusively within the B&B half. But such periods of possession must be converted into points and B&B's first incursion into the Ks' half, against the run of play, brought immediate reward. With the hosts looking to defend multiple phases the ref whistled for an offside and the option to kick for goal brought the opening score.
The response from Kenilworth was immediate and prolonged. Time and time again the Ks looked to move the ball across the pitch and produced some flowing, attractive spells but so often the good work was lost by a forward pass or lost possession. Captain Mikel Andreson was at the heart of a lot of this good work and his break from 8 against the head made great territory and looked odds-on to get Kens on the board. But a turnover gave the ball away and the B&B 15 set off on the counter before his attempted pass was batted down for which he immediately demanded a yellow! The full back had his request answered – though not in the way he'd planned! His colleague was involved in a contretemps with a Kenilworth front-rower and the ref gave both of the pugilists a 10-minute break to think about it.
With the half running down the Ks hammered at the B&B line when a high tackle was spotted by the ref. advantage was being played and a second, much more serious, high-tackle came in but received no sanction except a penalty which Josh Hickman converted and a 3-3 score-line. Eventually the hosts got their reward as Andreson was again the pivot; Alex Selby linked well and as the ruck formed he found James Wadey who crashed over and the successful kick puts Kenilworth ahead 10-3.
The second half started well for Kenilworth as they looked to add to their lead but they could not convert all the good work. Long periods of the second period were spent in midfield and in the Kenilworth half with neither side able to break out. Eventually B&B turned the tide and won a scrum 5m out. Winger Joe Jepps strayed offside as he looked to disrupt the push and the ref immediately went under the posts for a penalty try!
So all square but on the balance of possession and invention, Kenilworth were scratching their heads as to how they did not have a larger advantage. Despite continued effort, no further scores were added and the relief of the B&B receiver as he kicked the ball to touch to end the game spoke volumes.