Spirited Kenilworth hit back to win a topsy-turvy encounter

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Midlands One West Kenilworth 20 Walsall 18

Kenilworth put the disappointment of last week behind them with a win against Walsall that was full of character and big on determination, writes Ralph Murray.

Some blatant handling in a ruck gave Josh Hickman the chance to open the scoring and the full-back was on target for the opening score of the game.

And that set the early tone with Kenilworth putting pressure on but missing a couple of chances.

Eventually a Hickman counterattack set Tom Lane free with 20 metres to cover and the lock beat the pursuing defence to score.

Another great kick from Hickman made it 10-0.

Some good work from Walsall saw them reply swiftly after a well set maul.

This was followed by another setback when captain Jonny Cresswell went off with a knee injury.

The penalty count was mounting and Walsall narrowed the gap to 10-8.

Kenilworth had to respond and take the initiative and some great work by Ross Lowthian stole ball at the ruck to give them some impetus.

There were some good phases inside the Walsall 22 but, despite Lane appearing to have scored, they failed to cross the line.

Something had to give and the Walsall blindside was sin-binned for persistent offences, allowing Hickman to take advantage and make the half-time score 13-8.

Opening salvoes of the second half again saw Kenilworth encamped in the opposition’s 22.

But momentum can shift swiftly and some poor tackling allowed the Walsall wing a soft score to tie the game up.

Soon after a kick ahead should have been covered by the back three but the bounce favoured the onrushing Walsall backs and they ran the ball in from halfway to lead for the first time.

Desperate to take more than a losing bonus point, Kenilworth attacked and their progress was only stopped by a dangerous high tackle.

Amazingly it only resulted in a talking to and a scrum and the ball was cleared.

Still they came at Walsall and still the defence took to desperate measures to stop them.

Once more the referee deemed a high tackle worth no more than a chat.

Finally Dale Glover took a flat ball on his own 10 metre line and darted through a gap.

Having outrun the defence he switched the ball to Ed Hannam and the centre finished well.

That only brought the scores level but it needed the conversion to win it.

Hickman duly put the ball between the posts and Kenilworth took the spoils when it seemed the odds were stacked against them.

An admirable characteristic of this team is they never know when to quit – and they got their reward for their determination.