KENILWORTH have gone top of Midlands Two West (South) following an impressive 27-14 victory away to previous league leaders Kidderminster on Saturday, writes Sophie Freestone.
Kenilworth crossed four times to ensure they returned from Marlpool Lane with all five points to return to top spot.
In a match that could have seen Kidderminster extend their lead in the table, it was Kenilworth who asserted their authority on the match early on.
A kick through from Ed Hannam took his side to five metres from the Kidderminster line.
The ball then emerged from a subsequent ruck and captain Bobby Thompson burrowed over to open his side’s account with just three minutes on the clock.
Josh Emery added the conversion for an early 7-0 advantage.
As the first half wore on, Kenilworth continued to dominate in terms of both territory, possession and at the set piece with Kidderminster unable to break into the Kenilworth half or secure consistent line out ball.
Kenilworth’s dominance was then rewarded after 31 minutes of play when Josh Emery slotted a penalty after his side went close to scoring their second try of the match.
The visitors’ attacking exploits then came to fruition just five minutes later when a superb driving maul in the Kidderminster 22 saw hooker Harry Abell touch down with half time looming for a 15-0 lead at the break.
The second half saw the hosts get more involved as their line out improved but Kenilworth continued to be the dominant side.
Their lead was extended with 51 minutes played when Hannam once again kicked through and was well-placed to collect the ball and go over for Kenilworth’s third of the afternoon. Emery added the extras from the tee to put Kenilworth into a commanding 22-0 lead.
With a much improved performance in the final forty, Kidderminster responded immediately to Kenilworth’s third try by scoring their first of the match just four minutes later.
Good work form the pack took the hosts up to the Kenilworth line before Andy McLellan went over.
The conversion was good to close the gap to 15 points with 25 minutes to play.
Kenilworth then went down to 14 men with Sam Harrison shown yellow as Kidderminster looked to add to their tally.
Despite the one-man deficit, Kenilworth’s defence remained strong and the visitors didn’t concede a single point for the majority of the sin bin period.
It was in fact Kenilworth who put the first points on the board during that time when excellent pressure Hannam allowed him to rip the ball from Kidderminster on the wing.
The centre then raced down the touchline, scoring his side’s fourth in the corner to secure the bonus point.
Kidderminster once again replied immediately with a try in the corner after a well-worked break up the right wing, but it was mere consolation as Kenilworth secured an important 27-14 bonus point victory to go top.
Kenilworth are next in action on Saturday as they host Market Rasen & Louth in the fourth round of the Intermediate Cup at Glasshouse Lane.