Kenilworth 14 Stratford-upon-Avon 18
RELEGATION-threatened Kenilworth failed to build on a dream start as they slipped to a disappointing Midlands One West defeat against fellow strugglers Stratford at Glasshouse Lane on Saturday.
Hopes were high as Kenilworth opened the scoring from their first attack after just two minutes.
Quick service from scrum-half Alex Selby led to a slick move between forwards and backs, with Niall Beckett prominent, and Jack Gibson went over for a try which Tom Kendal converted.
Stratford responded from the restart but missed a kickable penalty and Kenilworth enjoyed the better of the early exchanges only for several promising attacks to peter out.
Kenilworth kept plugging away and produced a fine series of moves to extend their lead on the half hour.
A series of attacks close to the Stratford line eventually led to George Trafford taking the ball through the Stratford defensive line and, as he was tackled just before the line, produced the slickest of offloads to ever-present No 8 Bobby Thompson who scored close to the posts. Kendall added the extras.
Stratford hit back with a probing attack instigated by impressive full-back Joe Cook but Phil Dickson prevented a certain try.
It was the beginning of a period of pressure on the Kenilworth line but defensively they were up to the task with Stratford’s only reward being a penalty shortly before half-time.
Stratford remained on top at the start of the second half but Kenilworth defended well although the penalty count was mounting.
The tension produced a flare-up between the players under the Kenilworth posts and after a lecture to both captains ended with a penalty to relive the pressure.
But from the ensuing lineout Kenilworth’s problems continued with possession being turned over to Stratford who proceeded to mount another series of attacks.
An infringement by Jack Gibson led to the referee issuing a yellow card and Stratford made the extra man count by scoring an unconverted try.
Kenilworth suffered a blow when Dickson, who was impressive in defence, left the field with an eye injury, and Stratford took full advantage by scoring another unconverted try in the corner which reduced the deficit to a single point.
A series of errors gave Stratford a lineout close to the Kenilworth line from which they scored a third try to take the lead.
Kenilworth hit back strongly in the closing stages but it proved to no avail and the young side faces a tough challenge to avoid the drop, startying with a trip to leaders Sutton Coldfield this Saturday.
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