The newly formed Kenilworth Cavaliers opened their league campaign with an excellent win at home to a strong Rugby St Andrews XV on a very warm and sunny day. After last year’s encounters with the opposition, the Cavaliers expected a strong well drilled side and unfortunately they were not disappointed.
As the game kicked off it was clear to see the strengths of the opposition early on, as they ran hard and fast up front and when released their backs followed suit. The Cavaliers worked together to break these attacks down but finally succumbed to the pressure and conceded a converted try. It was clear to see that Kenilworth had to make the first up tackles and compete with St. Andrews at the breakdowns or face a very long afternoon in the heat running backwards. To their credit, the Cavaliers, some making their debut and even senior debut for the club, fought back and scored their own converted try. As both sides started to find their feet after the summer break, the game opened up, St Andrews started to hit their stride, with their forwards and backs making good ground, they soon opened up three try lead and the Cavaliers started to look in trouble. As another attack from St Andrews built, a great turnover from the young Cavaliers back row gave the opportunity to finally release the Cavaliers back line, even though this was their first game together, the young back division clinically finished to go in at the break 15-24 behind.
A change at half-time saw the experience of Ed Hunter and Andy Fox enter the game, Hunter came into the front row to partner Rhiddian Booth, to reform the formidable partnership they shared together in Midlands 1. A reshuffle in the back line saw Andy Fox slot in at full back, and a change in the three quarters.
After some stern words at half-time the Cavaliers came out firing, the forwards were starting to make their presence felt with some strong passages of play and both forwards and backs started to make their tackles and compete at the breakdowns, this laid a platform for the backs to finally open up, once given the ball they duly took their chances. To their credit St Andrews never stopped, they continued to play good rugby and used their runners well; the difference was that the Cavaliers stopped everything that ran at them, competed at the breakdowns and finished more clinically in the second half.
The final result was a 50-31 victory to the Cavaliers. It was good to see a new group of players coming through, Ryan Hutchinson had an excellent game on his senior team debut, and other club debuts included Rich Hall and Dave Jones who both look excellent additions. Nick Prince also opened up his senior campaign with a solid game at ten working well with the ever youthful Bowden at nine.
This was great start to the season, especially considering the strong opposition, and with still numerous players to return to both the first team and Cavaliers the early signs are good. There are many more improvements needed, but with every place in the team up for grabs, training will be essential and this can only help in building on a great start.
Tries: Dave Jones, Adam Hadwin, Rich Hall, Lloyd Philips, Ed Hunter, Andy Fox, and Nick Prince.
Cons: 6 Nick Prince
Pens: 1 Nick Prince
R. Booth, R Gardner, M. Wylie, D.Dingley, M. Jenks, R. Maisey, L.Philips, T. Eggington, I Bowden, Prince, L. Brown, D.Jones, A.Hadwin, R. Hutchinson, R. Hall, A.Fox, E.Hunter, Badger