Bournville 63 Kenilworth 24
This fixture was always going to be a stiff challenge for the struggling Kenilworth squad, made all the more difficult by yet more unavailability of key personnel which has beset the team throughout the season. Yet despite the score-line there were plenty of positives to be taken from the performance and indeed a vital if unexpected bonus point was a welcome reward for the battling squad.
With 3 hookers in the front row and a lightweight yet mobile 2nd row of Openshaw and Gerber the plan was certainly to move the heavier Bournville 8 around and to remove as much structure from the match as possible. The Kenilworth side showed their intent from the start, spoiling the home kick off return by chasing Hickman's excellent kick.
The 1st 10 minutes were dominated by the visitors with Thompson, Andresen and Renowden bursting holes in a rather sleepy Bournville defence. This caused them to concede penalties in their own half and with a game plan of running everything the Kenilworth side tapped and went repeatedly. Good hands eventually saw centre Harry Kaufman crash over for the opening score, Hickman's kick was narrowly wide.
Again Kenilworth harried the home team and a combination of strong running and some intelligent kicking saw them set up base in the home 22. Another quick tap and a superb pass from Hannam saw Kaufman score again to really shock the crowd at Bournville's Birmingham University ground. Hickman was unsuccessful with his kick.
The home side, clearly reeling from this onslaught began to wake up and use their large forward pack and strong running centres to make some ground. After Kenilworth spurned another straightforward kick at goal to try to achieve their preplanned target of 4 tries the ball was turned over and Bournville opened their account.
Kenilworth's makeshift lineout began to falter and Bournville picked up another couple of quick tries and a penalty to make it 25-10 at halftime.
After a half time chat from skipper Thompson and stand in coaches Carrick and O Brien, the plan was to start the half as they had the match and go for some quick ball and hopefully more tries. After some great pressure with runs from Hannam, Andresen, Gerber and Thompson the ball reached Mapletoft who danced his way over by the posts, Hickman's conversion was successful.
Bournville bounced back with a try of their own but the brave Kenilworth side genuinely seemed to be enjoying the task at hand. This resulted in a kick for the corner and the impudence of a catch and drive against a much heavier pack, Good technique and determination saw the Kens 8 plus a couple of the backs drive the home 8 backwards and the evergreen poacher Renowden wriggled his way over for the all important 4th try. Hickman converted and the side now looked towards the next target in the pre match plan - another bonus point.
However the effort put in during the first 60 minutes began to take its toll and tackles began to become a little weaker, the strong running Bournville backs soon taking advantage. Bournville are near the top of the league for a reason and became more clinical as Kenilworth tired, running in a handful of tries towards the end.
It was a sterling effort from a patched up Kenilworth side who have set themselves targets for the run in to the end of the season. With key players due to return and a renewed enthusiasm they have it within themselves to upset a few more teams and see where that takes them in what has been a very tough season.