Contentious late try denies Southam a share of the spoils at Kenilworth
A grey, miserable day at Glasshouse Lane was reflected in a rather monochrome performance from Kenilworth, with only a controversial late try denying a combative Southam side a draw.
A rousing start from the visitors saw them work their way up to the Kenilworth 22 in the opening stages and fly-half Harry Hewson put in a weighted chip behind the back line for winger Sam Bench to chase, forcing the defender to concede a five-metre scrum. Southam drove down the centre and were awarded a penalty in front of the posts for not releasing in the tackle, which captain Will Grindal converted.
Southam continued to harass Kenilworth across the field on the back of a solid scrum anchored by returning number eight Andy Ford and a disciplined and imaginative lineout which befuddled the home pack all afternoon.
They deservedly extended their lead in the 17th minute courtesy of another Grindal penalty following a late tackle on Hewson.
Grindal was narrowly off target with a third penalty attempt but ten minutes from the break, with the visitors holding penalty advantage, a speculative drop goal from Hewson made it 9-0.
As the half came to a close, Kenilworth put some forward phases together and, from a lineout inside the Southam 22, prop Dan Minks forced his way over for a try converted by Alex Selby.
Kenilworth got their noses ahead after the restart, converting a penalty for offside at the ruck after some fine cover tackling, following an incisive break, denied them a try.
Southam responded well from the restart and hammered the Kenilworth defence. However, it took ten minutes before centre John Lowden broke the line, forcing a penalty on the Kenilworth 22 for a no-arms tackle which was converted by Grindal.
Southam continued to harass Kenilworth in the open and tight and Grindal added his fourth three-pointer of the game after the home side were penalised for not releasing in the tackle.
Southam should have cleared their lines from the kick-off but were penalised for offside and Kenilworth reverted to route one rugby, recycling and driving close to the breakdown.
Southam defended well across the line but under a penalty advantage Kenilworth spread it and young centre Charlie Stevens touched down for a fine try to level the scores at 15-all.
As the game drew to a close it looked as though a draw was on the cards.
However, from a Southam scrum on their 22, the referee got in the channel and Hewson was under pressure by the time he received the ball, with his clearance kick charged down. Minks picked up the pieces but the defending side surrounded him as he went over the line, with three players under the ball.
Despite the visitors being certain they had prevented the try, the official was not convinced and awarded the touchdown, with Selby’s conversion only adding salt to the wounds.