Kenilworth’s adventure was rewarded with a good away win, but as always with fixtures against Silhillians, the result was in the balance until the final minutes, writes Ralph Murray.
The visitors made the early running as Mikkel Andreson featured prominently in the early skirmishes but the game soon descended into a game of aerial ping pong.
The stalemate was broken when the Sils winger’s progress was abruptly halted by Ed Hannam in what was to become the first of a number of key plays by the centre. Gaz Renowden broke from his ten-metre line and made 30 yards before offloading and the ball passed through Josh Hickman and Joe Yeomanson before finding Hector Smith who finished well in the corner.
Hickman made the difficult conversion look basic.
From the restart Sils were pinned back in their 22 as Ks looked to capitalise on the early success. Hannam was again in the thick of it as he beat two defenders before finding Andreson who looked sure to score but the ball was lost forward.
Outstanding defence by Tom Lane denied Sils a response but the hosts eventually worked an overlap to produce a score close to the posts. The successful conversion brought the scores level.
Ks responded with a Renowden chip which was collected by Sam Went close to the five-metre line. Renowden received the ball and fed it on to Bobby Thompson who touched down.
Neat interplay between James Wadey, Jai Purewal and Renowden appeared to have opened up a real scoring chance but the pass was intercepted and the Sils winger brought the scores level right on half-time.
Soon after the restart, Sils were awarded a penalty but the kick was wide and Kenilworth went straight back on the attack and were within inches of the line when the ball found Thompson who twisted and stretched to score his second.
Sils scored next courtesy of a penalty for not rolling away and Hickman responded in kind soon after as the game remained a one-score affair.
Hannam continued his stellar day with another blistering run, beating two defenders and barging the third to the turf. The ball was recycled well and Wadey took the ball on before passing to Hickman who scored in the corner. He failed to add the extras but the visitors now had a ten-point advantage heading into the final quarter.
This was reduced to seven by a Sils penalty before Kenilworth landed a crucial blow.
A series of Kenilworth mauls were halted by a stray boot which looked to have cleared the danger but the ball landed in the arms of substitute Jimmy Middleton who ran it back with interest. The winger was held up inches short but eventually the support told and Thompson completed his hat-trick.
Sils were reduced to 14 at the restart but despite the loss, they pressed again and a chip ahead was spilled by Hickman, with the hosts taking full advantage with a converted score.
Ks’ dominance at the scrum was now nullified by the passive rule but Sils spurned a final chance to get back on terms when the ball was lost in contact.