It was heartbreak once again for Kenilworth in the Warwickshire 1st XV final as they lost by a point to Midlands Premier side Nuneaton RFC at Old Laurentian’s Fenley Field ground, writes Dom Carrick.
On an overcast chilly Sunday afternoon the Kenilworth supporters travelled over to Rugby in good numbers hoping to see the Men’s 1XV finally pick up the County Cup for the first time, but it ended 27-26.
It was clear that the players also had a nervous expectancy when some mistimed aerial challenges led to yellow cards for Garrett Bell and David Opoku-Fordjour in the opening 15 minutes.
Kenilworth also lost scrum half Will Canning to concussion after a late swinging arm to the head only yielded a yellow card to the Nuneaton flanker (who received another yellow and hence a red in the dying minutes of the match).
Ben Leahy replaced Canning and whilst normally a fly half he battled admirably in his unfamiliar position.
Nuneaton drove over for the opening try but Kenilworth responded swiftly with a penalty despatched to the clubhouse corner and the formidable line out drive saw prop Jake Dodd emerge with the ball after crossing the line, Tyler Price converted to level the scores.
Nuneaton were now having to put a huge amount of effort into their defence and another Kenilworth penalty, kicked to the same corner and a clever front peel move saw hooker Ollie Stone crash over.
Kenilworth were in the ascendancy, but didn’t capitalise and another try gave Nuns a 14-12 lead at half time.
The second half saw Kenilworth continue to dominate the set piece and the tight exchanges but conceded a third converted try. Again they bounced back with a driving maul to send Stone over again.
A yellow card for flanker Mike Ryan and two more penalties for Nuneaton meant Kenilworth trailed 27-19 with just minutes to go.
A penalty try after Nuneaton hauled down a maul left just enough time for the restart. Kenilworth regathered the ball and made good yards through the forwards, earning a penalty just outside the 22 to the left of the posts. Tyler Price stepped up to try and seal the victory but agonisingly seemed to lose his footing and the kick fell a couple of feet short.
The focus now returns to the league with fifth placed Old Halesonians visiting Kenilworth, this weekend, kick-off 2.15pm.