Kenilworth started life in Midlands Two West (South) with a solid 22-0 victory over their derby rivals Leamington, writes Sophie Freestone.
The Glasshouse Lane side were relegated last season but got their new campaign off to a fine start.
In a physical contest, Leamington were unable to register a single point, with the Kenilworth defence proving too well-organised for their Moorfields opposition.
The hosts started the match strongly with a try after just six minutes from winger Kurt Morgan. The move started inside the Leamington half with number eight Mikkel Andresen taking it up to the half-way line. A slick offload to Gareth Renowden allowed the scrum-half to find centre Tommy Jones who released Morgan on the right for the game’s opening score. The conversion from captain Bobby Thompson drifted to the left of the uprights.
Mid way through the half Kenilworth doubled their lead thanks to another well-worked try for a winger, with Ed Hannam crossing on the left. In a move that started with the quick-thinking Renowden collecting a loose ball, fly-half Alex Selby was released up the right with the onrushing Morgan making further yards to reach the visitors’ 22. The ball was then whipped out to the left and into the arms of Hannam who strolled over for his side’s second score. Thompson’s missed conversion kept the score at 10-0.
As the game edged towards half-time, Patrick Northover’s chip and chase gained good ground for Leamington and from a resulting lineout they found themselves pressing the home line. Northover took possession, dummied his way past his opposite number before getting the ball to Jim Robertson on the crash but he was just held up.
It was the hosts’ ability to take their opportunities that set the sides apart at half-time and they started the second half in much the same way as they began the first, scoring a try after just five minutes.
Number eight Andresen scooped the ball up from the base of the scrum to barge over by the posts following a penalty that gave the hosts a five-metre lineout. Thompson successfully added the extras to give his side a commanding 17-0 lead.
With the bulk of the play taking place in the middle of the park, it was the hosts who showed the most intent.
Their efforts came to fruition after 62 minutes thanks to a penalty that resulted in another five-metre lineout. The combination of second-rows Will Johnson and Raj Bahey worked well, with Bahey offloading to a charging Ross Lowthian who took the ball up to the visitors’ five-metre line. Quick hands shipped the ball out to Jones who secured his second try assist of the afternoon by passing to Thompson for an easy run-in and a crucial bonus point. The missed conversion left the score at 22-0.
The final quarter saw Leamington put themselves in good attacking positions but Kenilworth’s defence would not be breached.
Kenilworth’s 2nd XV also took on Leamington on Saturday, coming back from 22-0 down to win 31-22.