Kenilworth suffered an agonising 25-22 defeat at home to Newport Salop on Saturday, with a 92nd-minute try from Liam Holder sealing victory for the league leaders, writes Sophie Freestone.
Kenilworth scored a try after just four minutes, fly-half Harry O’Brien’s perfectly weighted kick-through sitting up nicely for flanker Mikkel Andresen who touched down to the left of the posts. Josh Hickman’s conversion was on target to give his side a 7-0 lead.
Newport closed the gap with a simple penalty before taking the lead after 14 minutes with a well-worked try. Monty Maule chipped over the Kenilworth defence inside his own 22 to create space and Maule then put boot to ball once again before regathering and offloading to Toby Mann who crossed to nudge the visitors into a one-point lead. The conversion was successful.
The remainder of the half was a close contest but neither side put points on the board until the 38th minute when Hickman’s superb penalty from distance sailed through the uprights to level the scores.
With the match so tightly poised, the first points of the second half were set to be crucial and it was Newport who took the lead thanks to their second try of the afternoon. The successful conversion gave the visitors a seven-point cushion and that became ten points in the 49th minute thanks to a penalty.
Despite the deficit, Kenilworth continued to push for a second try and it came with 55 minutes on the clock. A flowing move took Kenilworth deep into the Newport 22 and Harry Kaufmann was on hand to cross in the left corner. Hickman’s conversion fell just short.
With the match entering the final ten minutes of normal time, Kenilworth regained the lead thanks to the quick-thinking of Jamie Mapletoft who picked up a loose ball in the middle of the park and sped away from the Newport defence to score under the posts. Hickman’s conversion nudged his side into a 22-20 lead.
The match took a dramatic turn when both sides were reduced to 14 after tempers flared.
And, in the 12th minute of injury time, Newport were awarded a scrum on the half-way line which resulted in Holder crossing in the left-hand corner to inflict heartbreak on the hosts.