Kenilworth 41 Barkers Butts 10: Ks find their fizz with an exhibition of champagne rugby

Bobby Thompson was at the heart of most of Kenilworth's best moments. Pictures submitted
Bobby Thompson was at the heart of most of Kenilworth's best moments. Pictures submitted

Kenilworth continued their solid start to the season, exhibiting a real freedom and solid basics to see off a game Barkers side, writes Ralph Murray.

Right from the off, Kenilworth made their attacking intentions clear and Josh Hickman opened their account with a penalty.

With play inside the visitors’ 22, prop Ross Lowthian made a brilliant steal from the Barkers lock at the lineout and the maul was established. The pack surged over for the other prop Nick Collett to score the first try of the afternoon.

The next period saw Kenilworth continue to take the game to Barkers with Bobby Thompson seemingly at the heart of everything.

The pressure eventually gave Ks a scrum five and, with the drive established and a penalty advantage signalled, it was Thompson who crashed over for the score. The added two by Hickman produced a 15-0 lead.

It was from this latest score that the shackles came off.

Even pinned inside their 22, the hosts used handling and guile to play their way out of trouble.

With the momentum building an extended injury break provided a pause for breath and, on resumption, Barkers took the initiative to maul over for their first try of the afternoon.

The Ks were now striving to get back to the tempo that had served them so well. Joe Jepps looked to counter before being felled by a dangerous high tackle. Play continued and Kenilworth again mauled towards the line, flanker Ed Holmes sauntering over untouched for another home score. The conversion from Hickman made it 22-5 at the interval.

The second half began with Barkers making the plays and winning two penalties in quick succession but there was nothing to show for their efforts.

An injury to Butts’ Matt Wooldridge produced a long delay and eventually the prop had to be moved from the field to receive further treatment.

With play restarted, Kenilworth wasted no time in resuming the fray and a maul close to the line produced good ball for Jepps to score the bonus-point try, converted by Hickman.

The champagne phase had now officially begun and the handling and speed of thought was not only providing a rich spectacle but making the hosts difficult to live with.

One such move looked odds on for a score as Jai Purewal’s final pass to Arthur Haynes put the winger away but the ball was lost forward.

The next move saw Thomson unselfishly offload to Rhys Jones to touch down under the sticks.

There was no let up now and second-rower Tom Lane was involved in the next attack but was felled by a high tackle. The referee had seen enough and a yellow card for the Butts lock added further misery to the visitors’ day.

There was still time for more scoring as James Jackson, making his first XV debut, got on the scoresheet with a fine try.

With the game now secure and scrums uncontested, the Butts nine took advantage of some poor defence to record a consolation score just before the close of play.