Hickman the hero with late penalty in derby day thriller
Kenilworth returned to winning ways on Saturday as Josh Hickman secured the spoils with the final kick of the match in a 22-20 victory against local rivals Stratford at Glasshouse Lane on Saturday, writes Sophie Freestone.
The home side got off to a brilliant start, scoring the opening try of the match after just six minutes. Following an attack that started on halfway, winger Ed Hannam broke through the Stratford defence to cross on the left wing. Hickman's conversion was just wide of the mark.
Stratford almost responded immediately, as they made their way to Kenilworth's 5m line, but some great defence from the home side earned a penalty from which they cleared their lines.
A Kenilworth kick upfield then proved tricky for Stratford to handle, resulting in a turnover inside the visitor's half. The ball was worked to the left in a great counter attack before fly half Alex Selby dived over under the posts. Hickman's conversion gave Kenilworth a 12-0 lead with just 15 minutes played.
Stratford responded in the form of a penalty from Nath Geekie, before they almost scored a try of their own following a kick through which took play into the Kenilworth 22. Scrum half Gaz Renowden was quick to react however, with a great clearance kick to halt the Stratford attack.
As the half hour mark approached, Kenilworth were once again on the score sheet. A kick to the corner from Renowden gave the home side a turnover 5m from the Stratford line. The ball was spun out to the left and full back Jamie Mapletoft crossed in the corner to score his first try for the club. Hickman added the extras from out wide to make the score 19-3, before a great turnover on the Kenilworth line from Nick Collett, with half time looming, ensured the home side held onto their 16 point lead at the break.
Stratford came out strong for the final forty with a converted try near the posts from full back Nath Geekie inside the opening five minutes to close the gap to nine points. Kenilworth then had their chances to extend their lead, taking play up to the Stratford 5m line, before missing a penalty attempt. A penalty for the visitors made the score 19-13 inside the final 20 minutes, before a converted try on 74 minutes gave Stratford a one-point lead to ensure a nerve wracking final five minutes for the home side.
Kenilworth kept the pressure up and the referee blew for an injury time penalty just inside the Stratford half. Hickman's superb strike secured victory for Kenilworth with the final kick of the match in a thrilling local derby. The win sees Kenilworth move up to sixth in the league.