Warwickshire 2XV Cup
Kenilworth were well beaten in this year’s cup by a strong Sutton side confident in their ability and set piece skills. However the Kenilworth side that played showed grit and defensive determination that will serve them well later in the season.
The Kenilworth side was a shadow of the one originally selected thanks to injuries, call ups to the first team and a number of more dubious late drop outs. This really left the management and existing players in the lurch and a squad of just 16 players headed to Sutton for such a daunting fixture. Whilst outplayed in many facets of the match the effort and commitment of those on the field was immense. Many players finished the match battered and bruised but in no way embarrassed.
The scrum was under pressure from the start, Sutton’s pack were a lot larger and more experienced with Matt Gibson at hooker making the step up from the colts between Mark Wylie and Michael Smalling hanging in wilfully and towards the end of the match they were more than holding their own. Matt Jenkins led the pack well from 2nd row alongside Lewis Deely who in his 1st competitive match since schoolboy rugby hit every ruck and carried well against much more experienced opposition.
The back row disrupted the organised Sutton pack creating numerous turnovers and ensuring scrappy ball. Jack Gibson returning from a Summer of chicken fillets, fake tan and Veet combined with Rob Maisey to stem the tide where possible and couldn’t have asked for a stiffer comeback game.
Ian Phillips carried the ball aggressively, making yards every time and ensuring the Sutton pack spent much of their energy trying to wrestling him to the ground. One such carry after a catch and drive midway through the 2nd half saw Phillips carry 3 green shirts over their own try line to register the Cavaliers only score. This was ably converted by Nick Prince. The backline stood firm cutting down wave after wave of Sutton attacks until too many spaces appeared across the field. Jonny Tipton added some Northern bite at scrum half combining with the graceful George Trafford on his 1st match of the season. The centres of young Ed Hannam (colts flanker and just 17yrs) and the older Luke Brown tackled their hearts out and Brown caused problems with a number of his trademark gallops through the middle. The back 3 of Rich Hall, Adam Hadwin and Nick Prince had barely any ball in attack but again formed a determined last line of defence against some big, fast impressive Sutton strike Runners. Tom Grew came on during Kenilworth’s strongest period in the 2nd Half and showed excellent support to latecomer replacement Rhys Jones’ searing break but alas didn’t quite have the legs to finish it off.
So in essence the side were well beaten by a slick, strong Sutton outfit but showed enormous heart throughout and showed that with a bit more belief and perhaps better commitment from those becoming "unavailable" throughout the preceding week, this side could become very competitive and successful.