Kenilworth turned the form book on its head with a superb victory over fifth-placed Wolverhampton at Glasshouse Lane.
With nine games remaining and a possible 45 points on offer, the result gives Kenilworth renewed belief they can stave off relegation despite them remaining rooted to the foot of the table 14 points adrift of the next nearest side.
Earlier in the season, at a very wet Castlecroft, Kenilworth were convincingly beaten by Wolverhampton. However, in front of a vocal home crowd, they made a mockery of the league positions to achieved a bonus-point win.
Straight from Wolverhampton’s kick-off, Mikkel Andresen ran the ball back nearly the length of the pitch before agonisingly being tackled just five metres short of the line.
However, despite failing to produce any points, his adventure set the tone for the remainder of the match.
Sustained Kenilworth pressure led to two early penalties, both duly converted by full-back Josh Hickman, the second of which was from just inside the Wolverhampton half.
This early 6-0 lead was shortly followed by a trademark scrum-half snipe by Gareth Renowden and converted by the reliable boot of Hickman to make it 13-0.
As half-time approached, Wolverhampton got themselves into the game with an unconverted try in the corner to bring it back to 13-5 at the interval.
Kenilworth started the second half strongly, resulting in prop Matt Gibson crashing over from short range with Hickman converting again.
To keep the home support on edge, Wolverhampton struck back, scoring an unconverted try in the corner.
However, Kenilworth’s driving forward play soon resulted in another Gibson try to make it 25-10.
Wolverhampton responded well and after a break and a chip over the defence, Kenilworth dropped the ball in their own dead-ball area. An attacker was the first to pounce on the loose ball with the referee awarding the try.
The conversion narrowed the gap to eight points with ten minutes remaining.
The pressure was eventually relieved by man-of-the-match Andresen, who broke through a number of tackles to add the bonus-point try.
Gloss was added with another successful kick from Hickman.
n Kenilworth Ladies stormed to a 48-5 victory over the University of Birmingham 2nds, despite fielding an inexperienced side in freezing temperatures under the Friday night lights at Glasshouse Lane, writes Cath Lyon.
That performance was followed up by a 33-0 victory over Old Northamptonians as the ladies once again secured two victories in a weekend.
The hosts dominated Friday’s friendly which saw both sides hand out a number of debuts, thanks to simple but well executed attacking play.
Two tries in quick succession from speedy full-back Harrie Clemens, including one straight from a restart, were successfully converted by fly-half Felicity Baldwin for a 14-0 lead.
Birmingham responded with an unconverted try after taking advantage of hesitant Kenilworth defending.
There then followed a procession of Kenilworth tries, with an impressive hat-trick from centre Phoebe Howles and Rebecca Lane, Patricia McMahon and Vicky Stokes also crossing the whitewash.
Although the backs scored all the points it was Kenilworth’s forwards who set the platform for the convincing victory, with flanker Alexandra Clay putting in a superb performance and hooker Emma Kimberley impressing in her first full outing at number two.
Speaking after the match, head coach Tim Burden praised the skill and dedication of his players.
“Everyone performed so well and I was especially pleased with some of the newer players,” said Burden.
“This evening has shown me how determined and committed the players are to making Kenilworth Ladies a real success.”
Kenilworth were then back in action on Sunday afternoon, securing a 33-0 victory against Old Northamptonians.
Kenilworth started strongly and raced into a commanding 26-0 lead within the opening 20 minutes courtesy of tries from Jasmine Heffer, Baldwin, Clemens and Lane.
The visitors’ defence then held firm to prevent Old Northamptonians from getting on the scoresheet.
Kenilworth had the final say when an interception from fly-half Stokes allowed Baldwin to race over the line for a converted try.