Kenilworth secured an emphatic win against a struggling Walsall side who, despite the lopsided scoreboard, never gave up the fight and pushed right to the final whistle, writes Ralph Murray.
The early minutes were spent inside the Walsall 22 as Kens got off to their usual brisk start and the visitors gave away a series of penalties, with Josh Hickman converting the first kickable chance.
The trend continued and a slick move looked to have put Ed Hannam over for the first try but he was called back for a forward pass.
Ks responded in the best possible way with Nick Jones heading for the line but another forward-pass call ended the threat.
The hosts were not deterred, sticking to their gameplan and, from a lineout, a maul was formed which rolled a full 20m for Matt Gibson to touch the ball down.
Mikel Andresson was putting in his usual huge effort and it was the returning flanker who was next on the scoresheet as he blasted through the Walsall defence and beat the final defender to score under the posts.
Tails were really up now and a quite staggering passage of play saw Kenilworth patiently stringing together a series of phases as Walsall were dragged left and right before Joe Jepps landed the telling blow after a short ball on the inside.
Missing the previous week’s game had clearly done nothing to diminish Bobby Thompson’s appetite for the fight as he turned in a man-of-the-match performance.
His reward was to score the bonus-point try as he peeled round the blindside at a ruck and Hickman added a superb conversion from the touchline.
With the interval approaching and the Walsall line under siege, Dan Careless slipped a disguised pass to Ollie Burman who surged over for another score to make it 36-0 at the interval.
It was more of the same after the restart with a third potential Kenilworth score called back for a forward pass.
The pressure was maintained, however, and Gibson was rewarded for a solid afternoon’s work with his second try.
Unsurprisingly, the game entered a dormant phase as the result seemed beyond doubt and it was Gareth Renowden who sparked it back into life with a tremendous break down the right flank.With space limited he offloaded to Jepps with a sublimely weighted pass. The winger still had plenty to do but he wrong-footed the defenders to score.
Renowden scored the final try as time ran down and the successful conversion proved the final act.