KENILWORTH RFC are heading to Twickenham to contest the RFU Intermediate Cup final, after defeating South Shields Westoe 39-34 in a thrilling semi-final contest.
Both sides set out with intentions of gaining an early advantage, with battles occurring all over the field.
Kenilworth made the break through, after building up a head of pressure in the Westoe 22 and kicking a penalty between the posts, courtesy of full back Neil Sutherland.
Westoe levelled with a penalty of their own, before crossing the line for the first time in the game and adding the extra conversion points to lead 10-3.
The hosts, unfazed and finding an extra gear in reaction to falling behind, kept knocking on the Westoe door and touched down through skipper Bobby Thompson for an unconverted try.
Westoe struck with a second converted try to put a halt to any Kenilworth momentum, taking a 17-8 lead.
But after persevering with a failed attacking move, the Warwickshire side worked the ball into the corner for a lineout, from which Harry Abell drove over the line – again with the try unconverted.
They went in at half-time with a four point deficit, and regained the momentum they had built after the restart.
An infringement by Westoe led to a quick-tap penalty by Gareth Renowden, who went over the line himself for the third unconverted score of the game to nudge Kenilworth ahead 18-17.
Then the hosts proceeded to build the first solid lead of the game, after Ollie Burman weaved his way through the the Westoe defence to finish between the posts.
Their first conversion of the game was successfully kicked, giving them a 25-17 advantage.
Westoe kept the hosts on their toes with a penalty from distance to narrow the lead, but were knocked back by Charlie Stevens’ try, converted by Sutherland.
Again though, South Shields scored a converted try to bring the game back into contention once more.
In the dying minutes, Kenilworth’s nerves were eased somewhat by Mikkel Andreson’s stunning 60-metre solo run on a breakaway, with the extra points added, to all but seal the club’s passage to the final.
Even with a late Westoe try to take the scores to 39-34, that was how it would finish at the sound of the referee’s whistle, much to the jubilation of the Glasshouse Lane crowd.
Having recently concluded their Midlands 2 West (South) season as champions, the club will have the opportunity to add further silverware in the Twickenham showpiece against Matson on Sunday May 5 (3pm).