Kenilworth 10 – Nuneaton 13
Comments from numerous faithful supporters, and indeed some neutrals, that the better side lost cuts little ice when after an exciting contest Nuneaton took the silverware back to Liberty Way. The brutal truth is that Nuneaton took their few chances, two of which were gifted, while Kenilworth, playing with superb heart, commitment and no little elan, managed to spurn their opportunities.
In front of a healthy Butts’ Park crowd with a very vocal Kenilworth following, the first exchanges were frantic and set the tone for an encounter which was never less than full blooded.
With 40 plus teenagers tearing into each other one would have hoped for an approach from officials with empathy as the touchstone. But Kenilworth certainly felt that this was not the case as they were pinged once a minute for the opening ten and after fifteen had two in the bin. That they leaked only 5 points in this period was testament to superbly organised defence and some courageous tackling. On the award of a free kick, having kept the score to 0-0, Kenilworth bizarrely opted to run the ball instead of eating up time in Nuneaton’s territory. The resultant turnover and quick transfer enabled Nuneaton to score in the corner to take the first points. The conversion was missed to leave the score at 0-5.
The returning Jenkinson and Hannam brought numbers even and Kenilworth began to play the percentages with some booming O’Brien touchfinders. An attack down the right flank with Bennett and Yeomanson to the fore resulted in a forward pass with the line at their mercy but with Nuns forced to clear to touch perilously close to their line a superb catch and drive saw Jenkinson atone for his earlier yellow with a beautifully controlled drive. The conversion was missed to leave the score at 5-5. Kens now settled for a period but it was a combination of the rub of the green and less than robust defence which led to Nuns next score. A wicked bounce from a Wilson kick led to O’Brien and Bennett clutching thin air and from the resultant scrum the Nuns fly half waltzed through the defence to leave the half time score at 5-10.
The second half started ominously for Kenilworth. A chance to clear was refused and from the penalty which resulted Wilson put Nuns ahead by 8 points. However, this was to be the last attack of any note by Nuneaton and Kenilworth spent the last thirty minutes of the game pinning their opponents back with some electric running and drives to the line, but to their credit Nuns’ defence held firm as Kenilworth’s had earlier in the game. This time it was Nuns’ turn to incur the wrath of the referee. Influential fly half Wilson was sent to the bin for a high tackle and though the resultant penalty was missed Kenilworth kept up the pressure. They were duly rewarded with another Jenkinson try, again from a catch and drive, and though the relatively straightforward conversion was missed the lead was cut to 10-13. The last ten minutes was all Kenilworth and at the death Kenilworth would claim that they gained the touchdown that would bring the cup to South Warwickshire. With another sin binning for the Nuns Kenilworth, needed to make the two man advantage count. Owen carried the ball to the line with a trademark charge and after a frantic melee Jenkinson picked up to claim a touch down which would secure his hat trick. However the referee had other ideas and signalled full time to the delight of the Nuneaton side.
A great effort form all the players on both sides in an enthralling contest with any number of talking points and a credit to Colts’ rugby in Warwickshire.
KENILWORTH COLTS 10 NUNEATON 13
Kenilworth 10 – Nuneaton 13