Kenilworth make a winning return to step 5 after beating Dudley Kingswinford

Kenilworth RUFC made a winning return to level five after beating Dudley Kingswinford 27-21.

Adam Carey carries the ball forward for Kenilworth.
Adam Carey carries the ball forward for Kenilworth.

It was the first time in eleven years the club have played at this level –Regional 1 Midlands – following last season’s promotion.

Dudley pipped Kenilworth to the title in the Covid-curtailed season and have had a year to re-establish themselves at this level, so the home squad were expecting a stiff challenge.

The visitors opened the scoring through a slick counter attack and good support play and led 7-0 after 8 minutes.

But Kenilworth responded well with Adam Carey scoring a try, converted by Ed Hannam, to leave it level on 25 minutes.

Two minutes later and the first Kenilworth try was replayed in the opposite corner, a big scrum led by former Coventry tighthead and now Kenilworth Player Coach Phil Boulton led to a penalty. This was kicked to the corner and again the technically impressive home pack powered over with Mike Ryan opening his try account for the season.

Dudley responded with a period of pressure which resulted in a penalty adding to their score.

Just before half-time Kenilworth botched a long lineout throw on their line to give Dudley an easy try.

With lock Kavanagh nursing an arm injury the Ken's pack was short of a little ballast and Dudley had a period of respite in the set piece. Good home defence repelled the probing Dudley backline who tried to get their impressive wingers involved as often as possible.

Cruickshank and Hannam in the centres were putting in some big tackles and the home side held firm. Then a moment of magic from full back Sam Peppitt saw him cut through the visiting defence and after some quick recycling, winger Ben Harrison scorched in for a wonderful try.

Kenilworth gave away a silly penalty from the kick-off and the visiting full back brought the score back to just a point again.

As the game entered it's closing stages debutant fly half Leo Jowett finished well from a good move to make the score 24-18 with 18 minutes to go.

Dudley hit back with a penalty to make the score 24-21, however they soon dropped to 14 men when the referee punished the visiting front row for the plethora of scrum penalties. This caused the scrums to be uncontested for the rest of the match as they had already lost a prop to injury.

Kenilworth remained camped on the Dudley line as the clock ticked on, a superb turnover penalty was despatched between the posts by Jowett and the final whistle blew.

It was a promising display with set piece dominance and strong defence laid the foundations with a few moments of brilliance in the backline. There were six debutants in the squad and all acquitted themselves well.

The 2XV played their first ever match in the RFU league structure having been admitted to Counties 2 Midlands South, where they are the only 2XV amongst a league of first teams. They travelled to Woodrush and narrowly lost 20-17.