Hooker Gibson sees red as Ks’ frustration boils over

Matt Gibson was sent off late on as Kenilworth went down to a narrow defeat at Whitchurch. Picture submitted
Matt Gibson was sent off late on as Kenilworth went down to a narrow defeat at Whitchurch. Picture submitted
  • Midlands One West (South)
  • Whitchurch 15 Kenilworth 13
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Kenilworth arrived at Whitchurch second in the league after a fine win the previous weekend, but sadly it proved to be an expensive and frustrating day, writes Peter Jones.

Like Kenilworth, the hosts pride themselves on producing sides made up largely of homegrown boys and in recent years the two sides have enjoyed many close and hard-fought games and this was no exception.

Ks’ fly-half convert Josh Hickman sustained an injury inside the first five minutes which was later diagnosed as a fractured and badly sprained ankle.

Stand-in kicker Charlie Preston took an early chance with a difficult penalty to give Kenilworth a 3-0 lead.

Whitchurch responded with an unconverted try but Kenilworth quickly regained the lead with a fine solo try from the ever-dependable Mikkel Andresen.

The lack of an experienced kicker meant the conversion was missed, leaving Kenilworth with just a three-point cushion.

Two yellow cards followed, one for the Whitchurch number eight and then for Kenilworth centre Ed Hannam after a clumsy attempt at clearing out.

Kenilworth fought hard to maintain their lead but lost another player when Rhys Jones reopened a deep cut to his left eye sustained two weeks previously, Ed Holmes replacing him.

The home side added another unconverted try to push them into a narrow 10-8 lead.

Moving into the second quarter, Kenilworth were forced to use the last of their substitutes when second-row Sam Went went off with a knee injury to be replaced by Marcus Andrews.

Then an unexpected piece of luck led to another Kenilworth try.

A sliced clearance kick from Whitchurch landed in Joe Jepps’ hands and he gratefully accepted the gift to score under the posts.

However, the lack of a regular kicker was again to haunt the visitors as they failed to add the conversion.

The last 15 minutes mirrored the Wales versus Australia World Cup game, with Kenilworth showing heroism in defence to repel numerous Whitchurch assaults.

However, the pressure eventually told as the hosts scored to take a 15-13 lead.

In the final five minutes, the simmering tension, which had been building up during the game, broke out into a mass brawl.

Kenilworth hooker Matt Gibson saw red, literally and figuratively, and will spend some time resting on his laurels.

 Bryn Graham scored four tries as Kenilworth Cavaliers thrashed Pinley 2nds 77-7.