Stratford too strong for Kenilworth in Warwickshire derby
Kenilworth were beaten 39-24 on Sunday in the first of two matches this season against local rivals Stratford on a drizzly afternoon at Glasshouse Lane.
The visitors were quick off the mark in the first half, scoring the opening try of the afternoon after just five minutes. Stratford captain Mark Hibberd made a break up the left wing allowing number eight Craig Vasey to score to give his side a five-point advantage in as many minutes.
Kenilworth responded in fine style however, thanks to a try from Jamie Mapletoft six minutes later. The full back chased his own kick down the right wing and out ran the Stratford defence to score his side’s first try. Josh Hickman’s successful conversion nudged Kenilworth into a 7-5 lead.
Two tries in ten minutes then followed for Stratford to stretch the visitors’ lead to eight points with almost half an hour played. The first of these two tries saw Stratford make the most of space out wide before a chip over the Kenilworth defence led to their third try of the afternoon.
Kenilworth then had a purple patch of their own as the first half drew to a close. Scrum half Gaz Renowden was blocked when chasing his own kick through but centre Harry O’Brien was there to touchdown before Renowden made it onto the score sheet himself. Having pressured Stratford into a knock on inside their own 22, Renowden ran from the back of the scrum an stretched over the line in the left corner to give his side a 17-15 lead with 34 minutes played.
It took just one minute for Stratford to regain the lead however, with a bonus point try straight after the restart. A clever switch on the left wing put them beyond the Kenilworth defence before touching down by the posts. The successful conversion ensured it was the visitors who took a 22-17 lead into the break.
The third quarter of the match saw possession swing between the two sides and it took 26 minutes of play before the opening points of the half were scored. Hickman had narrowly missed a penalty that would have put the Kenilworth within two points of the visitors before Stratford extended their lead with a break away try to give themselves a ten point cushion.
That lead was then extended to fifteen points with six minutes to play as the ball made its way along the Stratford backline before being touched down in the left corner to give the visitors a 32-17 lead.
Despite the deficit, Kenilworth did not give up and responded through Ryan Spriggs who crossed after 77 minutes to ensure that Kenilworth secured a try bonus point. Although Hickman was successful with an excellent conversion attempt, Kenilworth couldn’t quite secure a losing bonus point. Stratford then had the final say of the afternoon with an injury time try to make the final score 39-24 and continue their unbeaten start to the season.
Speaking to GlasshouseTV, head coach Wayne Morgan said: “I’m disappointed really; I thought there was more in the game for us.
“We saw an improvement from last week. We didn’t have an awful lot of scoring opportunities but we executed really well on the opportunities we did get.
“We’ve got a lot more improvement to come so we can get better. It’s back to the drawing board on Tuesday but all the lads are positive. We improved on last week so as long as we keep improving it will come right for us, I’m sure.