Wolverhampton 27 Kenilworth 17
The last time these two sides played each other was nearly 17 years ago when Kenilworth triumphed 38-0 but Wolverhampton had their revenge at last at a very wet Castlecroft Road on Saturday, writes Greg Hickman.
Both teams went into the fixture full of confidence with Wolverhampton recording a convincing win at Hereford and Kenilworth’s first win of the season against Whitchurch last week. However it was Wolverhampton and their strong runners who dealt with the heavy rain the best early on and were 10-0 up after 14 mins. After the first of many knock ons in the wet Wolverhampton had an attacking scrum following which their prop crashed over from short range with the conversion made in front of the posts. The Wolverhampton 10 then kicked a good penalty from 40 metres and Kenilworth were 10-0 down.
Kenilworth didn’t manage to get into their opponent’s half until 20 minutes had gone when a chip through by the young scrum half Liam Leeson saw them camped on the Wolverhampton 22 metre line for several minutes. A number of promising scrums ended with the inevitable knock ons but on 37 minutes a high up & under from fly half Harry O’Brian was chased well but Kenilworth were just held up on the try line and an away scrum. Mikkel Andresen threatened but Wolverhampton managed to keep him out.
Then against the run of play a grubber kick from Wolverhampton saw them break free from the Kenilworth pressure and despite the defensive efforts of Harry O’Brien & Jamie Mapletoft, scored again with the subsequent conversion making it 17-0. It was half time and the territory stats would show an even split between the 2 sides however Kenilworth were unable to convert theirs into points.
The start of the 2nd half saw the game being played around the ½ way line but more knock ons from both sides frustrated both the players and the spectators! Kenilworth made some changes with Ben Capitaini coming on into the centre and Gaz Renowden moving back to his preferred scrum half position. Wolverhampton attacked into Kenilworth’s 22 and it took a committed tackle from O’Brien to bring it to a halt.
10 minutes into the half and the rain stopped at last. Wolverhampton again came forward and following some missed Kenilworth tackles moved it out wide for their 3rd try to make it 22-0. There was still 25 minutes to go but Kenilworth now had a long way to come back.
The away team at last made use of their increasing superiority up front as Wolverhampton were penalised at the ruck. Renowden took a quick tap and the ball ended up in the arms of Ross Lowthian, the Kenilworth prop who was loitering on the wing, and he crashed over from 3 metres! The difficult conversion was missed but the score was 22-5.
Kenilworth now started to play with more confidence and following a mazy run from full back Mapletoft it was only a Wolverhampton intercept that stopped a probable try. Kenilworth continued attacking and gained another penalty in the Wolverhampton 22. Again it was taken quickly and skipper Bobby Thompson went over. Hickman duly kicked the conversion and after 66 mins it was 22-12!
Unfortunately it was Wolverhampton who eased the pressure and scored next with their 4th & bonus point try with a rolling maul that Kenilworth couldn’t stop. 27-12.
It was to be a tight last few minutes however as following a good up & under from impressive full back Mapletoft which was chased well by Renowden the Wolverhampton defence was in confusion resulting in a yellow card to one of their forwards for not releasing. Kenilworth went to the corner, won the lineout again which was a strength today with 100% success for the stand in hooker Tommy Jones, and it took another Wolverhampton penalty to stop the maul. Thompson took it quickly and took 3 of the Wolverhampton players over the line showing great strength & determination to take it to 27-17 and 5 minutes left.
However that was to be the last score as Kenilworth’s last attack from their own 22 saw a strong run from winger Ed Hannam before being bundled into touch on the ½ way line.
So a disappointing result for Kenilworth sees them still in the lower levels of the league however it is still early days and there are some promising signs with Kenilworth fighting back well but just couldn’t quite make up that early 10 points conceded. Credit to both sides here for trying to play open rugby in the atrocious conditions and Kenilworth will look forward to welcoming Wolverhampton back to Glasshouse Lane later in the season.
Piccies of the game HERE