Kenilworth 29 Whitchurch 12: Ks overturn an early deficit to see off Whitchurch

Alex Selby scored Kenilworth's second try to help them draw level at the break.
Alex Selby scored Kenilworth's second try to help them draw level at the break.

Kenilworth returned to winning ways with a deserved victory over Whitchurch and there was much to applaud about the performance, writes Ralph Murray.

Right from the off the hosts showed their intent with some probing runs at the Whitchurch defence, Josh Hickman finding a great touch from one such move and winning a penalty at the ensuing lineout. Opting for a kick at goal the normally assured full-back pulled his attempt wide.

Whitchurch responded with a hopeful kick into the Ks half which was poorly fielded, allowing them to claim a scrum ten metres out.

After a series of phases, the first try of the afternoon went to the visitors, somewhat against the run of play.

Whitchurch looked to build on this early success and threatened again before home captain Jonny Cresswell looked to stop the attack with a clumsy tackle and received a rather harsh yellow card.

The man advantage soon told as Whitchurch mauled the ball from five metres out and scored their second try for a 12-0 lead.

Despite being a man down, Kenilworth took the game to Whitchurch and enjoyed a prolonged period in the red zone.

Eventually the pressure paid off as James Wadey crashed over for Ks’ first points.

Back came Kenilworth from the restart and multiple phases saw Mat Gibson break the line from the ruck but, with the full-back to beat, he lost the ball in contact.

As the half wound down, Cresswell controlled a good maul close to the Whitchurch line. With the defence in disarray, Alex Selby took the ball flat and, seeing a gap, darted through it to score. Hickman’s subsequent conversion brought the sides level at the break.

The second half began at a more measured pace with Kenilworth’s progress often stymied by some questionable defence at the breakdown. The referee finally tired of the repeated infringements and the Whitchurch eight saw yellow.

Ks pressed hard for the lead and, after a series of attacking phases close to the line, looked to have scored but a stray hand prevented release.

The official spotted the infringement and the visitors received another yellow.

The ensuing scrum was dropped by Whitchurch and a penalty try was awarded.

A period of consolidation now followed but the deadlock was broken by a perfectly-timed interception from substitute Gareth Renowden deep inside his 22. He looked to have the legs on the chasing defenders but some great work by the Whitchurch wing hauled him down. Joe Yeomanson followed up well and took the ball to complete the score, which went unconverted.

Whitchurch were now stung into a spirited response and hurled everything at the Ks’ line until Rhys Jones made another fine interception and proceeded upfield with some fine interplay between himself and his fellow backs. The ruck was formed just short of the line and the newly arrived substitute Nick Collett saw his chance and touched down for another unconverted Kenilworth score.