Kenilworth gain useful bonus in fight for survival


Another fine display saw Kenil-worth leave Peel Croft with another priceless bonus point as their battle for Midlands One survival entered its final throes, writes Bob Jones.

Burton set out their stall from the kick-off with a punt that was ushered into touch close to the Kenilworth line and a catch and drive from the resulting line-out was held up over the line.

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When the pressure ceased, it was the visitors who clicked into top gear. Clean line-out ball from Chris Wood led to a break by Simon Tyler, whose transfer to Will Owen put him away for a try in the fifth minute, which his fellow centre could not convert.

The hosts had a chance to open their account soon afterwards, when Ks strayed offside, but the normally reliable boot of Dave Archer was off-target. However, he was back on song almost immediately, this time successfully converting a penalty after Kenilworth went into a ruck from the side.

It was helter-skelter stuff and, within three minutes, Kenilworth had stretched their lead. Good work by Chris Muncaster enabled the ball to be swiftly moved wide, with Nyle Beckett, going over wide out and Tyler adding the extras.

Another offside by the visitors nearly cost them as Archer’s penalty rebounded from an upright and a timely interception by Beckett then prevented a score.

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The rock-hard, uneven pitch claimed its first victim in the 25th minute when Wood dislocated a shoulder and this disrupted Ks’ rhythm. Within three minutes, Archer broke clear to touch down then convert, to narrow the gap to two points.

Tyler missed a relatively straightforward penalty attempt after Burton had failed to release the ball on the ground, but redeemed himself with a storming break and try, which he converted to open up a nine-point lead.

With referee Fergus Ross playing time added, more Burton pressure paid dividends. A drive in Ks’ 22 by their powerful pack - a taste of what was to come - culminated in a try, converted by Archer.

They were nearly away again, but a splendid clearance by Alex Selby saved the day and allowed Kenilworth to go in at the break 19-17 up.

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Ks somehow managed to be in front of the kicker at the restart and it heralded an almost constant bombardment from the Staffordshire side, built around their muscular pack.

Ks were forced into full, sometimes desperate, defensive mode but were coping well until Jonny Cresswell was sent to the sin-bin for deliberate offside. His absence told, with the home side making hay in the ten minutes.

Archer edged them into the lead with a penalty. Then, after interplay with his centre partner Lewis Brooks, crossed for an unconverted try.

A sweeping move then paved the way for Brooks to touch down. Archer added the extras to make the lead 13 points with just over ten minutes of normal time remaining.

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Managing to get some possession, with Gareth Renowden and Owen instrumental in using it, Ks strove for a fourth try, bonus point and the possibility of a second for their losing margin.

They got the try, Dominic Sheehan outpacing the cover, but Tyler was off-target with the conversion.

Beckett then looked to be on his way to the line but play was brought back for a forward pass.

The final minutes witnessed a heroic defensive effort by Ks as the Burton pack pounded away in the 22.

It was perhaps a fitting end that having soaked up all this pressure, the action concluded after the home side had knocked on with the line at their mercy.