Kenilworth Colts took on Nuneaton Colts on Saturday with one eye on the Warwickshire Colts League table (Kenilworth 2nd and Nuneaton 3rd) and one eye on the Warwickshire Colts Cup Final last year, where last year’s Colts were dramatically beaten at the death in a tense match, that many neutral observers felt should have been awarded to Kenilworth – who are we to say that!!!
So it was an expected pleasure to welcome Nuneaton to the Cow Patch on Saturday, with the pitch in surprisingly good nick after all the recent rain we’ve had and a lovely sunny afternoon, which allowed both sides the chance to throw the ball around.
Kenilworth lost the services of Josh O’Brien and Sean Martin, but it was good to welcome back Ryan Hutchinson from injury and Sam Cullen making his 2nd game back after rib problems.
Kenilworth started the game well taking the ball hard at the visitors and with quick recycling, managed to spread the ball and make good yardage, but for some silly handling mistakes, would have certainly opened their scoring. Nuneaton scrummaged very well and luckily for the hosts, some wayward kicking kept handing possession back to the home side.
From a scrummage about 30 yards out, a solid platform allowed No8, Dan Goode, to pick up the ball from the base and firstly attack the blind side, outflanking the cover and then driving infield to attack the fly-half channel, managed to go over without a finger being landed on him for an unconverted try, 5-0.
Ill discipline gave Nuneaton a platform to clear their lines and kick downfield for a 5-metre line-out, which they took and after an initial drive, span the ball wide to the left and after a couple if pick and drives, the visitors drove over for a converted try, 5-7.
From the kick-off, Conor Barron collected the kick and drove through between their fly-half and inside centre and was stopped just short of the line and quickly recycled ball meant we had to score with our backs waiting out wide, only for a greedy forward (who shall remain nameless in this report – wait till training tonight!!) to go alone and lose the ball – criminal!
The game was now played at pace and opportunities came about for both sides – the visitors were particularly good at driving mauls from 5-meter line-outs. A succession of phases in the Nuneaton half set up a good platform for the ball to go wide and a long pass from Ed Hannam, to Conor Barron gave him the chance to drive over for another unconverted try, 10-7.
Straight from the kick-off, which Kenilworth failed to field yet again, Nuneaton won a penalty and kicked to within 5-metres of the home line. A quickly won lineout gave the visitors the chance to drive open and a forward dived over for a converted try, to take the half-time score to 10-14.
Half-time saw the usual changes being made to make sure everyone got onto the park and this added some extra pace to the game, which Nuneaton struggled to live with.
From another 5-metre lineout, Nuneaton failed to secure the ball and from a sliced clearance kick, centre Will Field pounced onto the loose ball and ran from virtually his 10-yard line to dotted the ball down under the posts for a converted try to take the score to 17-14.
With Kenilworth in the ascendancy, little things started to go in their favour and Ed Hannam was the recipient of an interception and he scorched over for an unconverted try, 22-14.
Following the restart, Kenilworth were awarded a scrum on the visitor’s 22 and quick ball allowed Cameron Fisher to delay his pass until the last minute to captain, Ed Hannam, who came on an exquisite angle to crash through the centre and go over for a try, converted by Cameron Fisher, right under the sticks, 29-14.
Nuneaton kept fighting (not literally!) until the end and scored an excellent try wide out on the left, when the home side allowed them a 5 on 2 overlap, taking the final score to 29-19 to Kenilworth.
All in all, a good game and one that could and should have been made easier with the right options being taken, when people are in better positions. This is not the first time this has been mentioned and hopefully it will be the last.
Some notable good performances were from Max Wiggins, who came on late in the game and single-handedly counter-rucked the Nuneaton forwards off one ball, which was theirs for the taking. Will Field defended very well, but also looked sharp in attack continually running straight lines. James Ray had a very good game in both the tight set-scrum and lineout and driving low in the loose to secure opposition ball. Conor Barron carried the ball to great effect making several barn-storming runs, but still looking for support and Michael Jones, Dan Goode, Cory Joy and Sam Cullen tackled their hearts out whenever Nuneaton looked dangerous and won plenty of ball on the deck.
Another high-flying opponent awaits us next week for our away trip to Southam, who are 4th in the league – bring it on!!