RUGBY UNION: KENILWORTH Ladies ensured they got their 2017 off to a perfect start with a well deserved 39-12 victory over Staffordshire-based Cannock in the Women’s NC Midlands 2 North division, reports Sophie Freestone.
The first meeting between the sides ended in a narrow two-point victory for Kenilworth back in October, but this time around they produced a more dominant performance in front of their home crowd at Glasshouse Lane on Saturday.
Winger Phoebe May Howles opened the scoring for the hosts after just five minutes with a superb counter attack. Howles was perfectly positioned to take the clearance kick and her speed allowed her to run around the outside of the visitors’ defence to score the first try of the afternoon.
Kenilworth extended their lead with a second try, this time courtesy of centre Felicity Baldwin. Following a well positioned with a scrum inside the Cannock 22, the ball made its way to fly half Vicky Stokes who set up Baldwin for her side’s second score and Stokes was on target with the conversion to make it 12-0 midway through the first half.
With the second quarter underway, Kenilworth were looking to further extend their lead and their third try of the afternoon came courtesy of Harrie Clemens after some powerful breaks from the forwards.
Baldwin was then on the scoreboard again after scoring a try in similar fashion to her first to take her side up to four tries and a healthy 22-0 lead.
Cannock responded with their first try of the match when their scrum half quick-tapped a penalty and sniped through the scrambling Kenilworth defence to score under the posts, with the successful conversion making it 22-7.
But the hosts cancelled out the visitors’ points with a converted try of their own from second row Ada Ajoku.
With a 22 point deficit to overhaul Cannock came out firing in the second half, applying sustained pressure to the Kenilworth defence, however the hosts repelled Cannock’s advances and eventually opened the scoring in the final forty.
Clemens scored her second of the afternoon after dodging through multiple defenders to score on the right hand side.
A series of bulldozing runs by Chelsea Williams, Christie Foster and Caroline Spence eventually set up Kenilworth’s sixth try of the match.
Hooker Lexi MacKee and substitute flanker Alex Clay both went close to crossing but it was winger Patricia McMahon who touched down.
Cannock made did it onto the scoreboard one last time after Kenilworth conceded back-to-back penalties for an offside infringement and a high tackle with the visitors crashing over for their second of the match.
However it was a mere consolation as Kenilworth secured an impressive 39-12 victory to cement their place at the top of the league and they now sit six points clear of second-placed Coalville.