Brave Kenilworth denied by Newport as table-toppers snatch victory with last-minute injury time try
Kenilworth suffered an agonising 25-22 injury time defeat to Newport Salop on Saturday, with a last-minute try from Liam Holder in the 12th minute of injury time sealing victory for the league leaders at Glasshouse Lane, writes Sophie Freestone.
Kenilworth have had a disappointing season thus far, and victory was in touching distance until the ninety-second minute when the visitors scored a match-winning try.
The match started well for Kenilworth, who scored a try after just four minutes of play. Fly half Harry O’Brien’s perfectly weighted kick-through sat up nicely for flanker Mikkel Andresen who duly opened the scoring for the hosts, touching down to the left of the posts. Josh Hickman’s conversion was on target to give his side an early 7-0 lead.
Five minutes later, Newport closed the gap to four points with a simple penalty before the visitors took the lead after 14 minutes with a well worked try. Monty Maule chipped over the Kenilworth defence inside his own 22 to create space for Newport. Maule then put ball to boot once again before re-gathering and offloading to Toby Mann who crossed to nudge the visitors into a one-point lead. The conversion was successful to make the score 10-7 to Newport.
The remainder of the first half was a close contest but neither side put points on the board until the 38th minute when Kenilworth were awarded a penalty. Hickman’s superb attempt from the left, at distance, sailed through the uprights to level the scores with half time approaching.
With the match so tightly poised, the first points of the second half were set to be crucial and it was Newport who took the lead thanks to their second try of the afternoon after 44 minutes. The successful conversion gave the visitors a seven-point cushion.
That seven-point point cushion became a ten-point lead just five minutes later as Newport extended their advantage with a simple penalty to make the score 20-10 to the visitors.
Despite the deficit, Kenilworth continued to push for a second try and it came with 55 minutes on the clock. A flowing move took Kenilworth deep into the Newport 22 and Harry Kaufmann was on hand to cross in the left corner. Hickman's conversion fell just short of the posts as the try closed the gap to just five points with just under 25 minutes to play.
With the match entering the final 10 minutes Kenilworth regained the lead thanks to the quick-thinking of Jamie Mapletoft. The full back picked up the loose ball in the middle of the park and sped away from the Newport defence to score under the posts. Hickman’s conversion was on target to nudge his side into a 22-20 lead with less than ten minutes on the clock.
The match then took a dramatic turn when both sides went down to 14 men after tempers flared and each team had a player dismissed.
Full time came and injury time was being played and just as it looked like Kenilworth had hung on to secure a crucial victory, Newport were awarded a scrum on the half way line which resulted in Holder crossing in the left corner in the 12th minute of injury time to inflict heartbreak on the hosts. Although the conversion was wide, the try itself was enough to secure victory for Newport and maintain their place at the top of the league.
Although the result was disappointing, Kenilworth can look ahead to their next fixture against Stratford on Saturday (tomorrow) with renewed confidence after an impressive performance against a Newport side riding high in the league.
For photos of the game click HERE