Kenilworth end losing streak with bonus point victory

Kenilworth returned to winning ways on Saturday with a well deserved 29-18 victory over Crewe and Nantwich on a sunny afternoon at Glasshouse Lane, writes Sophie Freestone.

Despite a poor kick off by the visitors, it was Crewe who were the first on the scoreboard, with a try after just five minutes. After a clean take from their own line out on half way, Crewe made a great break up the left wing to score, but the conversion was missed to give the visitors an early 5-0 lead.

The next 15 minutes of play saw both sides have opportunities to attack, with Kenilworth making the most of their opportunities on 21 minutes. A knock on by Crewe from a 5m line out gave Kenilworth an excellent attacking platform with a 5m scrum, and they made no mistake, with scrum half Gaz Renowden breaking through the visitors' defence to score the home side's first try of the afternoon. Josh Hickman was on target with the conversion to give his side a 7-5 lead.

Having just gone ahead for the first time in the match, Kenilworth were soon trailing by a point after No8 Kalum Goodfellow was yellow carded for a high tackle. Crewe opted to take the points, making the score 8-7 to the visitors.

With Goodfellow's sin bin approaching its conclusion, Kenilworth put themselves in a great attacking position despite being a man down. Renowden was back on the score sheet after he charged down a clearance kick on the left wing, for an easy run in, to core his second try of the match. The conversion attempt from Hickman was narrowly missed, bouncing off the post, and the home side took a 12-8 lead before being restored to 15 men for the conclusion of the second half.

With the final forty underway, it wasn't long before Kenilworth extended their lead. A great flowing move from the back line saw the ball travel the length of the pitch before reaching full back Jamie Mapletoft who scored under the posts. Hickman adding the extras from the tee, to give the home side a 19-8 lead on 45 minutes.

Crewe were soon back on the attack however, and were rewarded for their efforts with a try in the corner on 51 minutes. With the conversion missed, the gap was now closed to seven points with Kenilworth leading 19-13 with just under 30 minutes to play.

After a period of the match which once again saw both sides have attacking opportunities, it was Kenilworth who were back on the score sheet. Some great interplay between winger Joe Jepps and Mapletoft in the right corner eventually saw Jepps cross the whitewash to extend the home side's lead and earn an important bonus point. The difficult conversion was only narrowly missed by Hickman, to make the score 24-13 with 12 minutes remaining.

With the match entering its final minutes Kenilworth were once again down to fourteen men, with prop Nick Collett yellow carded for foul play, resulting in uncontested scrums for the remainder of the match. With a one man advantage, Crewe closed the gap on the scoreboard to just six points with just four minutes remaining to ensure a nervous finish for all at Glasshouse Lane.

Despite playing with a man down, Kenilworth secured victory and prevented Crewe from earning a losing bonus point, thanks to a superb solo effort from flanker Mikkel Andresen with three minutes to play. With the ball on half way, Andresen broke through the Crewe defence with some neat footwork as he ran half the length of the pitch to score and secure a first win for Kenilworth in six matches.

The watching Former Players were well impressed!

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