Berkswell & Balsall 5 Kenilworth 15: Andreson steps up to preserve in-form Kenilworth’s fine run

Kenilworth fly-half takes a tackle without the ball against Berkswell last Saturday.

Kenilworth fly-half takes a tackle without the ball against Berkswell last Saturday.

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Kenilworth made it six league wins from seven after getting the better of Berkswell in their derby clash at Honiley Road, writes Ralph Murray.

Although fielding a side shorn of a number of first-team choices it was Kenilworth who made the early running, putting the Berkswell line under considerable pressure.

Eventually the strain told as the referee decided some of the methods being used to slow the visitors warranted a penalty. Josh Hickman, normally so dependable, pushed his kick wide right.

The next 15 minutes saw Kenilworth take every opportunity to run the ball but their efforts went unrewarded due to poor decision-making or the final pass not going to hand.

Berkswell continued to live on the edge at the breakdown and another penalty was awarded to the Ks. This time Hickman made no mistake to score the opening points of the afternoon. 

With half an hour gone, Kenilworth were again threatening the Berkswell line when the referee blew for an infringement at the ruck and dished out a yellow to the hosts’ number eight.

With the extra man, Kenilworth now looked to make hay and created well-worked chances for Bobby Thomson and then Simon Tyler, but both failed to convert due to poor distribution and not looking after the ball.

Berkswell cleared their lines but the respite was temporary as winger Joe Jepps ran the ball back into the heart of the hosts’ defence. Centre Ed Hannam was at the bottom of the ruck when an ugly incident was spotted by the referee but, apart from a talking-to, no further sanction was applied as the half-time whistle blew. 

Ks started the second half with a bang. Gareth Renowden and Bobby Thomson combined from the base to put the eight away for a good break and as the defence closed he found second-row James Wadey who took the ball and smashed over for the first try of the day, which went unconverted.

The game then entered a stagnant period with neither side making any significant inroads and Thompson seeing yellow for dissent.

Berkswell then used their man advantage to pile on the pressure and, after a driving maul lost rhythm, they spread play out wide and a few phases later, young second-row Jack Parker ran in unopposed.

A missed conversion left Ks with an 8-5 lead.

Sensing the need for urgency, Kenilworth produced a spell of the most entertaining rugby of the afternoon.

One particularly sparkling move involving fly-half Arthur Haynes put flanker Mikel Andreson in the clear 20 metres out and the Dane stepped the first tackler and crossed underneath the sticks for the highlight of the game.

The conversion put the visitors 15-5 to the good and with the game drawing to a tame close there was just time for a final twist, with the Berkswell nine seeing yellow for a trip.