A FRUSTRATING afternoon saw Kenilworth narrowly lose out 15-13 away at Whichurch in a match that boiled over and saw both sides receive cards in a fiery Midland One West encounter, reports Peter Jones.
Whitchurch nestles along the historic boundary between the Welsh and English counties of Mercia.
Like Kenilworth, the rugby club prides itself on bringing through home grown players and it would prove to be another hard-fought game between the two sides on Saturday.
Kenilworth arrived as second in the league after a fine win the previous weekend but sadly it proved to be an expensive and frustrating day in various ways.
Outstanding fly half convert Josh Hickman sustained an injury in the first five minutes which was later diagnosed as a fractured and badly sprained ankle.
Stand-in kicker Charlie Preston took an early chance with a difficult penalty to give Kenilworth a 3-0 lead but Whitchurch responded with a try to bring the score to 5-3 but failed to add the conversion.
Kenilworth themselves responded with a fine solo try from the ever dependable Mikkel Andresen from 40 metres out but the lack of an experienced kicker meant the conversion was missed.
Two yellow cards followed for Whitchurch’s number eight and then for Kenilworth centre Ed Hannam after a clumsy attempt at clearing out.
Kenilworth fought hard to maintain their lead but lost another player when Rhys Jones reopened a deep cut to his left eye sustained two weeks earlier and had to be substituted.
The home side added another unconverted try to push them into a narrow 10-8 lead.
In the final 20 minutes Kenilworth lost second row Sam Went with a knee injury, using the last of their substitutes before an unexpected piece of luck led to another Kenilworth try.
A sliced kick from Whitchurch landed in Joe Jepps` hands and he gratefully accepted the gift to score under the posts, but sadly the lack of a kicker cost the visitors again and the score stood at 13-10.
The last 15 minutes saw Kenilworth show heroism in defence to repel numerous Whitchurch assaults but eventually the pressure told and the home side scored a try to sneak a 15-13 win.
In the last five minutes a simmering tension, which had built up during the game, broke out into a mass brawl and subsequently Kenilworth hooker Matt Gibson saw red and will spend some time resting on his laurels.