Kenilworth maintain pressure on leaders thanks to derby win
Kenilworth remain second in Midlands Two West (South) after a bonus-point derby win at Southam, writes Sophie Freestone.
The first half was a close contest, with Ollie Sharples crossing for Kenilworth’s first try after 15 minutes. Quick hands from Kenilworth inside the home 22 put Sharples into space on the right and the winger crossed for his side’s first of the afternoon. Alex Selby added the extras from the tee.
Two further penalties from Selby extended Kenilworth’s lead to 11 points mid-way through the half before Southam, who had lost prop Tom Bird to a leg injury, opened their account with a three-pointer from Jon Lowden.
An injury to Southam’s Will Bostock led to uncontested scrums for the remainder of the game and Kenilworth threatened with a counter attack, only to be thwarted by Tom Boag try-saving tackle out wide.
With half-time looming, Southam found themselves in the Kenilworth 22 and the visitors were rewarded for their efforts with a second penalty, again from Lowden, to close the gap to five points at the interval.
The windy conditions meant it was a difficult afternoon for kicking, with both sides struggling to gain field position with the boot.
Handling errors were also prevalent but good hands from Ed Hannam saw Kenilworth extend their lead after the restart. After a sustained period in the Southam 22, in which Kenilworth went close to scoring on a couple of occasions, the visitors spread the ball wide to Hannam who sold a dummy to beat the defence and touch down.
The missed conversion left Kenilworth with a 16-6 lead with 25 minutes to play.
A lengthy injury delay, which saw Southam’s replacement prop Charlie Gilkes leave the field, disrupted the game and there were 70 minutes gone when Kenilworth scored the match-defining try.
Selby produced a superb penalty kick to the corner and, following a clean take at the lineout, number eight Nick Gerber was driven over the line. The conversion from Selby gave Kenilworth a commanding 23-6 advantage.
With the match outcome decided, Kenilworth went on the hunt for a fourth try and the crucial bonus point and it was Josh Fox who ensured the visitors left Southam with maximum points. The hosts opted for a quick throw-in but Fox read one of the subsequent passes to intercept and run the ball in from the 22.
Selby’s conversion provided the final points of the afternoon.
Kenilworth are back in action on Saturday when they travel to Stafford for the third round of the Intermediate Cup.
Southam, who are without a game, return to league duty on November 17 when they make the trip to Rugby St Andrews.