Burton 32 Kenilworth 24
BATTLING Kenilworth gained another priceless bonus point, courtesy of four tries, as their battle for Midlands One survival entered the final stages.
The visitors produced a good display, which largely consisted of attractive attacking rugby in the first half and dogged defence after the break.
After weathering some early pressure, the visitors clicked into top gear. Clean lineout ball from Chris Wood led to a break by Simon Tyler, whose transfer to Will Owen put him away for a try after five minutes, which his co-centre did not convert.
The hosts had a chance to open their account soon afterwards when the Ks strayed offside but the normally reliable boot of Dave Archer was off-target.
However, he was back on-song almost immediately, this time successful with a penalty after the Ks went into a ruck from the side.
Within three minutes, Kenilworth stretched their lead. Good work by Chris Muncaster enabled the ball to be swiftly moved wide with Nyle Beckett going over for a try which Tyler converted.
Another offside by the visitors nearly cost them as Archer’s penalty rebounded from an upright and a timely interception by Beckett prevented a score.
The loss of Wood with a dislocated shoulder after 25 minutes seemed to disrupt the Ks rhythm and within three minutes the irrepressible Archer broke clear to touch down under the posts and convert a try which narrowed the gap to two points.
Tyler missed a relatively straightforward penalty attempt after Burton failed to release the ball on the ground but redeemed himself with a storming break and try, which he also converted, to open up a nine-point lead after 33 minutes.
With referee Fergus Ross playing time added, more Burton pressure paid dividends. A drive in the Ks 22 by their powerful pack - a foretaste of what was to come after the interval - culminated in a try, converted by Archer.
They were nearly away again before Mr Ross concluded the half, but a splendid clearance by Alex Selby saved the day.
Perhaps the fact that Kenilworth somehow managed to be in front of the kicker at the restart was an omen.
It heralded an almost constant bombardment from the Staffordshire side, built around their muscular pack, which continued until the final whistle.
Gareth Renowden replaced Selby after a few minutes. The home side, already having had a man forced to retire with what also appeared to be a shoulder injury during the first half, then lost another with a nasty-looking one that necessitated a stretcher and ambulance.
Kenilworth were now forced into full, and sometimes desperate, defensive mode.
They were coping well, until Jonny Cresswell was sent to the sin-bin for deliberate offside.
His absence told, with the home side making hay in the ten minutes. Archer edged them into the lead with a penalty then, after interplay with his centre partner Lewis Brooks, crossed for an unconverted try.
Valiantly that the entire Kenilworth side covered and tackled, such an onslaught had to bear more fruit. A sweeping move paved the way for centre Lewis Brooks to touch down. Archer added the extras, to make the lead 13 points, with just over ten minutes of normal time remaining.
Managing to get some possession, with Renowden and Owen instrumental in using it, the Ks strove for a fourth try, bonus point and the possibility of a second for their losing margin.
They got the try, Dominic Sheehan outpacing the cover, but Tyler was off-target with the conversion.
Kenilworth entertain Dunlop, in their last home league game this Saturday (3pm).
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