Kenilworth continued their strong start to the season with a five-try victory over Silhillians lifting them to third place, writes Sophie Freestone.
Silhillians, returning to Glasshouse Lane for the first time since the 2015/16 Midlands One West campaign, started the match brightly and scored a try on the right after a well-worked move.
The conversion attempt went wide of the uprights.
The windy conditions made adventurous, running rugby incredibly difficult and while they worked themselves into good field positions, handling errors meant Kenilworth were unable to convert their opportunities into points.
That all changed after 23 minutes, however, when the ball made its way to captain Bobby Thompson after a great steal at a five-metre lineout.
The powerful openside then barged his way through the Silhillians defence to score his side’s first try of the afternoon.
Alex Selby impressively landed the conversion in the challenging conditions to nudge his side into a 7-5 lead.
For the remainder of the first half neither side were able to breach the opposition defence, with the wind preventing any kind of fluid rugby.
In fact, it took until the 58th minute before there were any more points put on the board, coming courtesy of a Selby penalty.
The kick proved a turning points with Kenilworth then scoring four tries in quick succession.
The first of these came after 64 minutes and was a penalty try following repeated infringements from Silhillians at the scrum.
Ed Hannam then found space on the left wing after 74 minutes, latching on to a pass from Rob Thomason to extend the hosts’ lead.
His touchdown by the posts gave Selby a simple conversion and the fly-half made no mistake in adding the extras.
Four minutes later, Hannam was back on the scoresheet to ensure his side came away with the four-try bonus point.
Selby dragged the conversion wide of the uprights to leave his side 29-5 up with just two minutes to play.
Kenilworth were not finished, however, with prop Dan Roberts adding a fifth, converted by Selby.
n Kenilworth Ladies survived a late onslaught from Lutterworth to secure a tense 19-12 victory at Glasshouse Lane and remain top of the National Conference Midlands One.
It looked as if the hosts would go on to secure a comfortable victory, with Tim Burden’s side scoring two tries inside the opening ten minutes to open up a 12-0 lead.
The first of these came three minutes in when the ball was fed through the hands for winger Sophie Henry to touch down in the corner.
The second try came on the opposite wing after a well-worked turnover from flanker Fran Dargan allowed scrum-half Rebecca Lane to whip quick ball out to Abi Minor. The fly-half released Beth Woodward on the right and the centre-turned-wing raced past the Lutterworth defence to score under the posts.
Rebecca Lewis added the extras from the tee to extend her side’s lead to 12 points.
However, as the first half went on Lutterworth grew into the game.
With the opening 40 entering its final stages, the pressure began to build on the Kenilworth defence and the penalties started to mount.
Eventually, there was one too many and flanker Cath Lyon was shown a yellow.
Lutterworth capitalised on their one-man advantage with quick hands taking the ball out to full-back Lucy Henderson who scored in the corner. The conversion was short to leave Kenilworth holding a 12-5 interval lead.
The hosts began the second half in the same way they opened the first, scoring a try straight from the restart.
Having started at full-back, Baldwin was moved to centre for the second half in a reshuffled back line and her presence at 13 had an immediate impact as she found herself in space on the right wing to sprint to the line. Lewis’ successful conversion extended her side’s lead to 14 points.
Kenilworth then found themselves penned back by Lutterworth for much of the second half, with a series of penalties handing the visitors both territory and possession.
Strong Kenilworth defence kept the visitors at bay until scrum-half Sophie Etheridge broke through to dot down between the posts.
Claire Evans’ conversion meant there were just seven points in it with ten minutes to play.
Further attacks from Lutterworth in the closing stages continued to put Kenilworth under pressure but an impressive defensive effort and the visitors’ failure to make the most of their opportunities meant there was no further scoring.