Kenilworth 14 Olney 22
Midlands Intermediate Cup round one
BUCKINGHAMSHIRE-based Olney proved too strong for Kenilworth as they ended the Glasshouse Lane side’s Intermediate Cup hopes in the first round on Saturday, writes Sophie Freestone.
The last time these two sides met was back in the 1940s and it was Olney who got off to the strongest start in the 2017 edition of this fixture.
The visitors gave themselves an early five-point lead with just seven minutes on the clock when flanker Ryan Hammett went over out wide for his first try for the senior side.
Kenilworth had been penalised at the ruck and the resulting 5m lineout gave Olney the field position they needed to take the lead.
Much of the opening quarter saw Olney pressurise the Kenilworth defence, however the hosts managed to stave off their attacks for much of that period. The visitors did eventually find a way through with 17 minutes on the clock, though, when fly half Jordan Letts kicked downfield and a number of Olney players chased to regain possession.
Letts fired the ball out to centre Hamish Bull who scored the five points in the corner. Scrum half Kieren Manson’s touchline conversion was on target to give his side a 12-point advantage.
Kenilworth responded well, however, and were eventually rewarded with a penalty deep inside the Olney half. The subsequent 5m lineout put Kenilworth in a strong position and a powerful driving maul saw Bobby Thompson touch down by the posts under a pile of bodies for his side’s opening score.
Centre Simon Tyler’s successful conversion cut the gap to just five points on the half-hour mark.
Despite Kenilworth’s response, Olney soon regained their 12-point lead when Ryan Hammett scored his second try of the afternoon after indiscipline from Kenilworth gave the visitors a well-positioned attacking lineout.
The Olney pack secured the ball and Hammett touched down from the back of the driving maul. Manson was once again on target with the conversion to add the extras and give his side a 19-7 lead as the first half entered its closing stages.
Kenilworth’s second half performance was much better, restricting Olney to just a single penalty from Manson as the 50-minute mark approached for a 22-7 lead.
Despite falling behind by 15 points, Kenilworth continued to press the Olney defence and their efforts were rewarded when Tyler broke through a hole to score on the left after 54 minutes. Gareth Renowden, playing number ten, made no mistake with conversion to put his side just eight points adrift with more than a quarter left to play.
As the match entered the final quarter, it was very much Kenilworth on the attack as they looked to come back in the closing stages. However, some powerful defence from Olney, particularly in the closing ten minutes, prevented Kenilworth from breaching their line again and the match ended in defeat for the hosts.
Kenilworth 2nds secured a 31-19 victory over Harbury and the ladies beat Old Silhillians 71-0. Phoebe Howles scored four tries, with Helena Allison-Moore, Siobhan Allison-Moore, Caroline Spence, Beth Woodward and Cath Lyon also on the scoreboard in the latest of their development fixtures.
Next up for Kenilworth’s 1st XV is a trip to Malvern in Midlands Two West (South) on Saturday, while the ladies will be hoping for a better outcome than the men’s team when they travel to Olney on Sunday. Both sides will be looking to continue their unbeaten start to the league season.