Kenilworth tame the Welsh dragon to clinch promotion
Kenilworth Ladies confirmed their promotion for next season on Sunday, with a superb 27-15 victory against a tough Coventry Welsh side.
The Glasshouse Lane outfit needed to win the match against their local rivals to put the league beyond Aston Old Edwardians and Coalville with a game to spare, and that's exactly what they did.
Kenilworth started the match brightly with winger Angeles Rivero Pacho opening the scoring with a well worked try in the left corner. The conversion from Vicky Stokes fell just short of the target as Kenilworth took an early 5-0 lead.
Coventry Welsh responded almost immediately, however, with a fine solo effort from their full back. Kenilworth fly half Stokes made a clearance kick that was well chased by her team mates but the Welsh fifteen just beat them to it, before rounding the Kenilworth defence, slipping through tackles and breaking up the left to cross. The conversion was missed to leave the score at 5-5 inside the opening ten minutes.
Kenilworth re-took the lead just seven minutes later, however, when their own full back, Harrie Clemens, also scored an excellent individual try. Fielding Welsh's clearance kick, Clemens turned on the gas to dodge past the scrambling defence to score on the left and give Kenilworth a 10-5 advantage.
Back row Christie Foster then extended Kenilworth's lead by powering over the whitewash to give the visitors a 10-point cushion at 15-5.
That ten-point lead then became a 17-point lead when Annie Rankin forced her way over the line from just two metres out. Stokes' successful conversion on the stroke of half time put Kenilworth ahead by 22-5 at the break.
With Kenilworth just 35 minutes away from securing the title, Welsh began the second half strongly with a try to bring the score back to 22-10.
The visitors soon extended their lead, however, after a superb break up the middle of the park from Chelsea Williams. The referee couldn't get there quickly enough to see the touchdown but Kenilworth made the most of the resulting five metre scrum, with speedy winger Phoebe Howles racing over in the right corner to touch down her for side's fifth try of the afternoon.
The hosts pulled a try back through Kate Sweatman's effort from close range, making the score 27-15 with just over ten minutes to play.
The visitors were not to be denied however, with victory securing promotion in just their first season in the league system.
Speaking after the match, head coach Tim Burden said: "We always knew Coventry Welsh were going to be tough.
"They've definitely improved a lot but we kept our composure and I think we deserved the win."
Burden also went on to praise the leadership of Rebecca Lane who led the side during the second half of the season: "I think she's been fantastic; I couldn't have asked for a better captain to step in.
"It just goes to show how much leadership we've got in the team and Rebecca's done a great job."
Following their title-clinching performance, in which the forwards put in a superb shift, Kenilworth will be looking to finish their season in style on Sunday 19th March when Coalville travel to Glasshouse Lane for the final league match of the season.
Selected piccies of the game HERE