KENILWORTH 6 BURTON 38
Kenilworth took the field against an extremely large but high flying Burton side at a bitterly cold Glasshouse Lane. Kenilworth were yet again well short of their first choice 15 as a consequence of the ongoing lack of player availability due in part to the crippling injury list but also the absence of key personnel who were instead away on International spectator duties... The Six Nations also being mostly to blame for the lack of touch line support with many choosing to either watch the TV games at home or in the club house.
Burton started the game at full tilt with their big forwards and equally as big backs driving constantly in to the Kenilworth defence. After only 7 minutes of play and a series of drives towards the Kenilworth line Burton crossed near the posts to record their first try of the afternoon – which was successfully converted.
Kenilworth’s response was to run the ball back at Burton at every opportunity, thus moving them around constantly and that desire to keep running at Burton put their defence under real pressure. As a consequence Burton became untidy and regularly transgressed resulting in numerous penalties and 2 yellow cards. Unfortunately Kenilworth, whilst getting close on more than one occasion, could not cross the line, eventually taking the kick at goal option, two of which were successfully converted by Josh Hickman, providing a 6 point reward. Unfortunately during this period, Kenilworth lost Jonny Openshaw with a shoulder injury to be replaced by Nick Gerber who promptly damaged his ankle to limit his mobility for the remainder of the game. The injury woes continued with back rower Raj Bahey having to go off with a foot injury, being replaced by Jai Purewal. During this period, Kenilworth often spilled the ball close to the line and gave away the occasional penalty that simply took the pressure off Burton.
One of the consequences of chasing the game in this manner is the vulnerability to counter attack. This in fact happened with a move being started in the Burton half ending up over the Kenilworth try line for a second score, which was unconverted. At half time Kenilworth had battled hard and were very much still in the game at 6-12 down. Although a concern was that despite all their pressure and field position Kenilworth had failed to score a try, yet Burton had efficiently taken their more limited chances.
For the first 15 minutes or more of the second half the game very much moved backwards and forwards with no side particularly dominant although what was becoming apparent was that to keep any sort of parity Kenilworth had to do a lot of tackling against much heavier opponents’. It was further apparent that Burton's more direct running, often breaking through the middle of the park, was beginning to wear Kenilworth down. As such, Burton created and took advantage of a huge gap to score their third try, unconverted, taking the score to 6-17. Kenilworth were now continually having to tackle the big running Burton forwards, with all the side putting in big brave hits. But by now Kenilworth were starting to be worn down and despite real effort to create opportunities and take the game back to Burton, spilled or lost ball was turned over and run back down the park. As such Burton scored a further three tries, all converted, to take the final score to 6-38. Again, a score line conceded that failed to reflect the effort and commitment put in by the Kenilworth players.
Pics of the game available HERE