KENILWORTH resumed top spot in Midlands One West with a fine 20-12 victory over title rivals Lichfield.
The visitors, then residing in second, arrived at Glasshouse Lane looking to repeat their 29-0 thrashing from November’s one-sided encounter.
Ultimately though, the latest meeting was a much-closer affair, with proceedings getting underway in spite of the blustery conditions caused by Storm Jorge.
An early scrum in Kenilworth’s half led to the opening try from Lichfield, provided by winger Greg Massey, who burst through to the hosts’ try line.
With the conversion missed, Kenilworth began to turn the tide, making advances into the visitors half.
Again however, it was Lichfield who provided the next score after half an hour played, as Sam Benson’s converted effort gave the away side a 12-0 lead.
A key turning point arrived when Lichfield captain Charlie Milner departed the field for the sin bin, with Kenilworth registering their first points of the afternoon.
Jayde Cruickshank’s penalty reduced the deficit to nine points at the close of the first half, prompting the hosts to continue their offensive push at the beginning of the second.
Attempts from Nyle Beckett, who came within a matter of yards of the try line after Gareth Renowden’s surging run, and a Cruickshank penalty, which landed just wide of the posts, threatened to rescue the game for Kenilworth.
It required a line-out midway through the half to claim the next score, as Mikkel Andresen broke away to clamber his way over the line, followed by Cruickshank’s extras.
With just two points separating the sides, Kenilworth went one better and took the lead for the first time minutes later, as Cruickshank once again proved clinical with his accuracy from range.
The home faithful were buoyed by the changing of the lead and gave their side all of the encouragement needed to see out the game.
That decisive score to clinch the points arrived five minutes from time, when winger Sam Morris performed a stunning tackle to overturn possession.
Receiving the ball, Andresen did the rest by bursting past the Lichfield XV to touch down for a second time. Again, the extras were added by Cruickshank.
After racking up a 17th win of the season, Kenilworth turn their attentions to a trip to sixth-placed Ludlow on Saturday, hoping to repeat their 25-17 success from November (2.15pm).