Hickman racks up the points as Kenilworth claim vital victory
Full-back Josh Hickman scored 25 points from the tee as Kenilworth secured their first victory in five matches to move off the bottom of the Midlands One West table, writes Sophie Freestone.
The visitors opened the scoring in the tenth minute with a penalty from the boot of Jim Creighton.
The lead was shortlived, however, as Kenilworth responded just four minutes later thanks to a try from fly-half Jamie Mapletoft. The hosts made their way up to the Crewe 22-metre line before Hickman broke through a tackle and Mapletoft took advantage of a gap to open the scoring for his side.
Hickman’s conversion sailed through the uprights to give the hosts a 7-3 lead.
Crewe hit back almost immediately with a try on the right wing from flanker Josh Collins who bulldozed his way through the Kenilworth defence to nudge his side into a one-point lead.
That lead was stretched to eight points when powerful winger Tom Roberts shrugged off two defenders for a converted score with just 20 minutes played.
A Hickman penalty closed the gap, with the full-back adding a second penalty after Crewe were reduced to 14 men with half an hour played.
Kenilworth regained the lead in the 36th minute when Hickman added his third three-pointer and two minutes later the hosts scored their second try.
The ball was kicked up the left-hand flank from inside Kenilworth’s half and Ed Hannam collected and put in another chip which he also got on the end of to race through unopposed under the posts. Hickman again converted.
A fourth penalty in the dying embers of the half saw Kenilworth go into the break with an 11-point advantage.
Crewe close the gap with a penalty five minutes into the second half before they scored their third try of the afternoon just three minutes later to reduce the lead to a single point.
Hickman was once again on target after 51 minutes but Kenilworth were reduced to 14 men six minutes later when second-row Dan Careless was sin-binned for offside.
Despite their one-man advantage, Crewe were unable to capitalise on the opportunity to pressurise the hosts’ defence and Kenilworth extended their lead once they had been restored to their full compliment, again through the boot of Hickman.
Hickman’s seventh penalty from seven attempts put his side 35-25 up with just seven minutes to play.
Crewe did not give up, however, with the opportunity to secure two bonus points still possible.
Their efforts were rewarded in the 77th minute to ensure it was a tense finish at Glasshouse Lane, with flanker Collins crossing for his second of the afternoon.
Creighton’s conversion closed the gap to three points with three minutes to play but Kenilworth held on to secure a much-needed victory.