Kenilworth’s three-quarters are on outside looking in


A high mark for effort but low one for execution summarises Kenilworth’s visit to the impressive Sixways Stadium on an unseasonably mild afternoon, writes Bob Jones.

While keeping the score close enough to secure a losing bonus point, they were forced to play second fiddle to a more coordinated and inventive Wanderers side.

The root of the problem was an inability to either carry through or adapt their game-plan to suit the circumstances which starved their dangerous three-quarters of the ball.

After an opening five minutes during which the home side threatened to run riot, Kenilworth unexpectedly opened the scoring when a Josh McShane break was carried on with both style and power by Simon Tyler. Tom Kendall converted the try.

Following this, they just about held their own throughout the first quarter, although the strong Worcester scrummage was persistently causing them problems.

On one occasion, the considerable combined efforts of Jonny Cresswell and Jack Gibson were needed to secure the ball as the opposing pack were about to drive over the line.

The pressure eventually told and, after Ks had been penalised for not releasing the tackler, centre Fincher slotted over a penalty goal.

This spurred Wanderers to greater heights and, after three more minutes of pressure and a slick bout of handling, hooker James was on hand to take the scoring pass, Fincher adding the extras.

For the remainder of the half, it was essentially more of the same, with the visitors living off scraps.

In time added on, Ks strayed offside and were punished by another Fincher penalty goal. Clearly rattled, they conceded two more penalties for back-chat before the break.

Kenilworth started the second half in positive fashion and, when Worcester were adjudged offside, Kendall struck a post with the penalty attempt.

A knock-on from the rebound gave the visitors a scrum under their opponents’ crossbar and Dominic Sheehan powered his way towards the line but was penalised for not releasing.

More pressure led to another penalty award to the Ks and this time Kendall made no mistake to reduce the deficit to three points.

Unfortunately, directly from the restart, Wanderers extended their lead to ten points, with loose play allowing flanker Southwood to charge over. Fincher again converted.

The home side opened up the throttle and it took a series of excellent last-ditch tackles, with Tyler and Sheehan to the fore, to save what looked like certain tries.

Beckett, hitherto starved of the ball, showed his mettle in chasing down an intelligent kick ahead to the corner by Alex Selby, only to be beaten by the touchline. It was then the turn of Andy Whitehall, similarly having seen little in the way of useful passes, to scorch to the opposite corner in pursuit of a touchdown from another punt ahead.

In added time, an indiscretion by Worcester afforded Kenilworth a shot at goal. With Kendall out of action because of a leg injury, Tyler stepped up and coolly dispatched the kick, much to the delight of coach Richard Gibson and the sparse travelling faithful.

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