KENILWORTH 33 WORCESTER WANDERERS 22
Kenilworth breeze past Worcester at windswept Glasshouse Lane, writes Sophie Freestone.
Kenilworth secured their third consecutive victory on Saturday as they defeated Worcester Wanderers 33-22 on another wet and windy afternoon at Glasshouse Lane, to move up to seventh in the league with a game in hand.
After their match against Hereford was rained off the previous weekend, Kenilworth were keen to get back into action and after just 2 minutes they were rewarded with a penalty that Josh Hickman just dragged wide of the posts. They soon had another opportunity and, after some great mauling, took the home side into the Worcester half. Penalties followed, and Hickman gave Kenilworth a 3-0 lead with nine minutes played.
It was Worcester that scored the first try of the match though, as they crossed after 18 minutes, with the converted try giving them a four point advantage. Kenilworth responded superbly however, with a fantastic try from Josh Hickman. A great move that started just outside the Worcester 22 gave Kenilworth an extra man out wide, but he wasn’t needed as Hickman’s sidestep and dummy took him through the Worcester defence and over the line. The windy conditions proved difficult for the kickers all afternoon, and the conversion narrowly drifted wide of the posts to give Kenilworth an 8-7 lead mid-way through the first half.
Kenilworth continued to apply pressure on Worcester and, although Alex Selby missed touch with his long-range clearance, the visitors knocked on to give Kenilworth a great attacking scrum inside the Worcester 22. Scrum half Gareth Renowden almost added a second try under the posts but lost the ball as he went over the line.
It wasn’t long before a second try was scored, however, as Bobby Thompson made the most of another 5m scrum to score under the posts. The simple conversion from Hickman gave Kenilworth a 15-7 lead after half an hour, before his second penalty just before the break made the score 18-7 at half time.
With the wind now in their favour, Worcester made the stronger start to the second half as they scored a converted penalty try inside the first ten minutes to close the gap to just four points. Hickman then re-established Kenilworth’s seven point lead six minutes later with a tricky penalty to make the score 21-14, before a penalty from Worcester reduced the gap back to four points as the game entered the final quarter.
The moment of the match then came, with just under twenty minutes remaining, as substitute Joe Jepps’ dazzling run from halfway on the right wing took Kenilworth right up to the Worcester try line, before Bobby Thompson crossed to extend Kenilworth’s lead to 26-17.
With the bonus point now in sight, Kenilworth were on the attack and nearly scored the all-important fourth try. Renowden kicked a clever chip over the Worcester defence for Charlie Preston to chase, but he was barged into touch five metres from the line. Kenilworth were awarded a penalty and eventually a scrum to give them a great attacking platform with just over 10 minutes to play. After a series of attacking passes, lock Dan Careless crossed to secure the bonus point try, before Hickman’s excellent conversion in windy conditions gave the home side a comfortable 33-17 lead.
Despite the deficit, Worcester continued to attack and were awarded with a try on 73 minutes, but it was a mere consolation and Kenilworth secured a well deserved victory.