Kenilworth 46 Stoke 22: Kenilworth’s resilient defence lays the platform for Stoke rout

Tom Nicholson offloads during another Kenilworth attack. Picture submittedTom Nicholson offloads during another Kenilworth attack. Picture submitted
Tom Nicholson offloads during another Kenilworth attack. Picture submitted
This was Kenilworth’s most complete performance of the season and although the final score suggests a rout, the hosts had to withstand sustained periods of pressure on their line before they really hit their straps, writes Ralph Muray.

There was a definite nip in the air as Kenilworth hosted their final fixture of 2013.

The first game of the season had ended all square in Staffordshire but a strengthened Stoke team promised to provide a real test of the Glasshouse Lane outfit.

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There was a great start for the Ks as the returning Patrick Jenkinson wasted little time in putting his mark on the game; making good yards before winning a penalty. James Wadey, seeing a gap in the defence, took the quick tap and crashed over to get the scoreboard moving.

This stirred the vsitors into an immediate response and Kenilworth were forced to give away a number of penalties in the red zone; one of which was converted to bring the score back to 5-3.

The momentum was with Stoke now and only stout defence prevented them from taking the lead.

Kenilworth looked to counter at every opportunity but their progress was slowed down by some lazy retreating at the ruck and the frustration proved too much for Jonny Openshaw whose attempts to speed things up earned him a yellow card.

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Ks continued to attack and some great work between Dale Glover, Dom Sheehan and Simon Tyler brought play to within a metre of the Stoke line. Play stopped for an attacking scrum to Kenilworth and even with a man advantage, Stoke could not prevent the pushover, Bobby Thompson making the final grounding.

Again this spurred Stoke to redouble their efforts and with the ball being spun wide, Ks were stretched and gave away a try in the corner. The spate of missed conversions continued and the score stayed at 10-8.

The pendulum swung again with the hosts taking the initiative and Thompson was held up just short of the line for another attacking scrum. A series of infringements saw the referee lose patience and a penalty try was awarded to make the score 17-8.

This pattern repeated itself with Ks again pushing hard for the line before an attacking scrum was awarded and Thompson again did the honours.

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The pressure now was unrelenting and Kenilworth looked like they would score with every possession; the impressive Josh Hickman becoming the latest to join the scorers and converting his own work.

Captain Jonny Cresswell then decided to get in on the action with the deftest of crossfield chips which Jepps got on the end of despite the attention of two defenders and Hickman added try number eight out wide to complete the scoring.

 Kenilworth Colts beat the combined Old Leamingtonians/Leamington Colts side 34-15 thanks to tries from Will Field (2), Matt Slater (2), George Martin and Jack Nicholls.

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