On an afternoon of incessant cold North Easterly wind, a possible excuse for hooker 'Dickie' can use for off centre throwing??, the 3rd XV travelled down the road to the back of Warwick Uni to face Earlsdon . . . 2nd XV! Kenilworth were fortunate to be strengthened by the notable addition of some 2nd team players - Jai Purewal, Matt Jenkins and Mark Wylie as well as other youngsters Lloyd Dixon and Sam Ballinger - yes, this young man is yet another nephew of the great Graham Ballinger - the dynasty goes on for ever!! The match was begun with a minutes silence for Left Winger Mark McKinnon's father who died in New Zealand a few days before. The game was even to start with although a lapse in mid field concentration led to a couple of early scores from Earlsdon. Then the back row of Jai (7), Mark W (6) and Rich Allen (8) started to provide probing runs and devastating tackling to sure up the defence. Unfortunately, on one such run, Rich Allen ran into a wall of steel and bruised a rib badly. As Rich limped off the 'yawning but effective' Scott Ryan (night shifts!) came on in the second Row to join Tim Hunt, whilst Matt Jenkins moved to 8. The front row of Blackburn Bladon and Dick - sounds like a dodgy Solicitors - were very experienced and very strong, aided and driven by Scott and Tim in the engine room. This held a young Earlsdon pack and provided a platform for Sam Ballinger and then a delighted Mark Turner (who almost committed a cardinal sin after his try with a football 'celeb') to glide over for two tries in the first half. Talking of defence, Earlsdon broke away down the right hand side half way through the half only to be met with Mark McKinnon himself, the strong Earlsdon centre was clear to score apart from Mark bravely hanging to his ankles to make a fantastic try saving tackle. Tackles like these are as good as any try in lifting a side and it takes a special kind of player to happily wrap is head around another man's boots! At the break it was 12 - 10 to Earlsdon, very tight. In the second half, a slight rearrangement in the pack saw Mark Wylie move to Tighthead with Rick Homer coming into the back row - with Lloyd Dixon swapping for Rick during the half. In the backs Eamon Bett came in for Jacek at outside centre. But a sense of contentment with the score line let our concentration drop and Earlsdon wandered through our defence far easier than the first half. These 'soft' tries inspired Jai and Matt to take the ball to Earlsdon and with renewed fire we ended up close to their 5 metre line. A typical classy scrum allowed 'Jenks' to score from the back of this set piece. Colin Dick, provided entertainment, with visions of being a centre rather than a hooker and somehow managed to get himself off side from his own kick! - he duly received the ferret for his efforts. A renewed life had been reignited and a final score was added with some beautiful handling by new centre Eamon Bett, who transferred the ball in one movement from his inside centre to replacement right wing Yan, for him to score unopposed under their posts. Mark T duly converted. The rest of the half renewed our defensive attitude of the first half with both centres, providing outstanding tackling and so letting noone through the midfield. Unfortunately this was too little, too late and Kenilworth couldn't recover from the lapses early on in the second half. This was however a game of strong spirit and strong commitment and certainly left Earlsdon 2's wondering how lucky they'd been to win. The moral of this defeat, never be satisfied with your performance until the final whistle and hopefully an accompanying win.