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Kenilworth 44 - Dunlop 29

The first outing of the league season at the Jack Davies Memorial Ground saw an absorbing game between two sides relegated from Midlands 1 West last season, writes Glyn Owen. A large and vocal crowd was anticipating lots of running rugby in the almost Mediterranean temperatures but the opening exchanges were rather error ridden and failed to produce any discernible pattern for either side. Dunlop were perhaps the more cohesive side in the first quarter making inroads in the wider channels and only an excellent tackle from Kendall, who was to have an influential game from full back, prevented a score.

And it was Kendall, resuming after some time out with injury, who provided the first points with an excellent penalty from just inside the Dunlop half. With Kenilworth’s set pieces not quite going to plan, Dunlop were able to make territory and after a series of infringements they leveled the scores with a well struck penalty from their scrum half.

Kenilworth began to show a little more cohesion with both scrum and lineout settling down and the rest of the half would be played almost exclusively in Dunlop’s half. Kendall extended the lead with another penalty and two close range tries followed after patient work in the red zone. Scrum half Renowden sniped over for the first and prop forward Collett garnered the second with some opportunistic work from a catch and drive when some more conservative souls were baying for a kick at goal. Full marks to the skipper, Thompson, for a brave decision. Kendall converted both and also added the extras when Openshaw galloped over down the right. Kenilworth were in control now and when Tyler finished an excellent move to take the score to 32 -3 and claim the bonus point for four tries Kenilworth seemed on the way to a comfortable second half.

However, the concentration switched off and Dunlop were gifted a try just before half time after some less than composed defensive work including a fly hack which ricocheted to the wrong shirt.

Half Time Kenilworth 32 - Dunlop 10

The half time team talk pressed home the need to move the Dunlop pack around and go through the phases. With O’Brien’s line kicking becoming increasingly influential, this approach was duly rewarded when after a superb line out take from an accurate throw to the tail Renowden drew in the defence before releasing the backs allowing centre Holton to score a debut try in the left corner. Perhaps sensing the game to be won Kenilworth became complacent in defence and began to concede unnecessary penalties. From a foothold in Dunlop’s half penalty after penalty was conceded and the result was a converted try after a well executed catch and drive. And when Dunlop tore through the midfield after a cleverly disguised delayed pass to score again a few jitters were spreading through the Kenilworth faithful.

But Kenilworth winger Beckett, who had had a quiet afternoon with little or no ball coming his way, stamped his mark on proceedings after snaffling a bobbling ball on half way. His pace took him away from defenders in typical style and the run in was a formality as was Kendall’s conversion to take the score to 44-22. Dunlop, however, had the last word with their right winger finishing well on the right after a series of drives towards the Kenilworth line.

The satisfactory outcome was a five point haul from a win and six tries and Kenilworth will travel in good heart to Droitwich next week with some returnees available to provide keen competition for selection this week.

Final score Kenilworth 44 Dunlop 29

Leamington 36 - Kenilworth 3XV 10

A local derby away to Leamington saw Kenilworth 3XV play their first game of the season in glorious sunshine.

17 players signed in for duty to re-appointed manager Tim Hunt. A few recent additions to the newly named Kenilworth Roundheads saw Adam Turners brother Mark and Big Will (Daine) on the starting 15 giving the 3VX a slightly lower average age than in previous years. Given the number of shaven heads perhaps Baldheads may be more apt.

The game kicked off at 15.00 with both teams looking well matched. Leamington tried to make a few early runs to our try line but some great tackles put in by Ciaran Bailey put a quick end to any thing that looked dangerous. After 10 mins Ks pack now looked like they had finally warmed up despite 27degrees from the off.

With Gary Coulter and Moony taking some crash balls into Leamington’ forwards and securing their 22 suddenly changed the game. Going to ground, Leam found it difficult to keep their hands out of our rooks which saw a number of penalties awarded in our favour. Kicking duties being left to Ciaran, he couldn’t quite find the touch line in the fist few which saw the ball back into play and being pushed back to our halfway line.

The initial back line of Mark Johnson - (9) who incidentally was well behaved through the game, Ciaran (10) Adam Turner (11), Jacek Bukowski (12) Ed Newey (13) Mark Turner (14) and Yann (15) started to look dangerous. Winning our scrum, Johno spun the ball right to Ciaran who made several dummies and side steps to get the ball out to Jacek, Ed and finally Adam Turner leaving him about 15m left to run for the first try in the game.

Typical of Kenilworth’s kit supplies, no kicking T meant poor old Ciaran had to make do with the little turf he could kick out of the solid ground, just missing the posts for the first conversion of the day.

25 mins into the game saw Leamington a little rattled, utilizing perhaps their greater strength in the pack score the next try, fortunately for K’s missing their conversion to.

Not happy with this, Ks were back on a mission to get some more points on the board. Several attempts from Paul Fountain and a charge from Big Will, did not quite make it but put the ball in the oppositions half. The ball taken into a rook on a 2nd phase saw Scrum Half duties quickly picked up by Mr Marsh who managed to get the ball out to Jasec on the blind side of play (not bad for a forward to play off his opposite side) . Jacek making ground and taking contact just before Leams 22, but managing to pass the ball out to Mark Turner who showed a turn of speed far greater than Adams making it 10-5 up. ( A Usain- Blake rivalry!) -A missed conversion again still meant score was too close for comfort.

With what could be described as a game of 4 halves saw Kenilworth slip back on the score board over the next 2. Both our forwards and backs making school boy errors through a lapse of concentration and a number of missed tackles was just enough for Leamington to take advantage. Wisey coming on at 14 and Mark Turner going into 13 still could not change the score. Perhaps the heat taking its toll on a number of players the ref called a 5 min break with 20 mins to go- giving Tim Hunt a chance to make a few further changes.

Poppet picking up 11, Cairan at 15, Wisey at 7 seemed to change things a little although Leam did squeeze in one last try in the first few mins of the re-start. Jacek perhaps needing wing mirrors when retreating to cover a ball in second gear saw their winger zip by him and several others in 5th gear-, leaving Poppet to make a chase from the opposite side of the pitch to make a tackle at the try line. The ref awarding the try as the ball was just touched down.

Thereafter Ks were back in Leams 22 for the rest of the game, making several attempts to get one last try but to Leams credit put up some stiff defence. In all everyone put in 100% effort and should not be too disheartened with the final result. A bit more match fitness in the player’s legs will see a vast improvement over the next few months.

Man of the Match – Mark Turner

Ferrit- Jacek

Kenilworth Cavaliers

The newly formed Kenilworth Cavaliers opened their league campaign with an excellent win at home to a strong Rugby St Andrews XV on a very warm and sunny day. After last year’s encounters with the opposition, the Cavaliers expected a strong well drilled side and unfortunately they were not disappointed.

As the game kicked off it was clear to see the strengths of the opposition early on, as they ran hard and fast up front and when released their backs followed suit. The Cavaliers worked together to break these attacks down but finally succumbed to the pressure and conceded a converted try. It was clear to see that Kenilworth had to make the first up tackles and compete with St. Andrews at the breakdowns or face a very long afternoon in the heat running backwards. To their credit, the Cavaliers, some making their debut and even senior debut for the club, fought back and scored their own converted try. As both sides started to find their feet after the summer break, the game opened up, St Andrews started to hit their stride, with their forwards and backs making good ground, they soon opened up three try lead and the Cavaliers started to look in trouble. As another attack from St Andrews built, a great turnover from the young Cavaliers back row gave the opportunity to finally release the Cavaliers back line, even though this was their first game together, the young back division clinically finished to go in at the break 15-24 behind.

A change at half-time saw the experience of Ed Hunter and Andy Fox enter the game, Hunter came into the front row to partner Rhydian Booth, to reform the formidable partnership they shared together in Midlands 1. A reshuffle in the back line saw Andy Fox slot in at full back, and a change in the three quarters.

After some stern words at half-time the Cavaliers came out firing, the forwards were starting to make their presence felt with some strong passages of play and both forwards and backs started to make their tackles and compete at the breakdowns, this laid a platform for the backs to finally open up, once given the ball they duly took their chances. To their credit St Andrews never stopped, they continued to play good rugby and used their runners well; the difference was that the Cavaliers stopped everything that ran at them, competed at the breakdowns and finished more clinically in the second half.

The final result was a 50-31 victory to the Cavaliers. It was good to see a new group of players coming through, Ryan Hutchinson had an excellent game on his senior team debut, and other club debuts included Rich Hall and Dave Jones who both look excellent additions. Nick Prince also opened up his senior campaign with a solid game at ten working well with the ever youthful Bowden at nine.

This was great start to the season, especially considering the strong opposition, and with still numerous players to return to both the first team and Cavaliers the early signs are good. There are many more improvements needed, but with every place in the team up for grabs, training will be essential and this can only help in building on a great start.

Scorers:

Tries: Dave Jones, Adam Hadwin, Rich Hall, Lloyd Philips, Ed Hunter, Andy Fox, and Nick Prince.

Cons: 6 Nick Prince

Pens: 1 Nick Prince

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