Kenilworth lose first home game of season to Banbury
By Jai Purewal
20th Sep 2023 | Rugby
Kenilworth men's first XV welcomed Banbury to Glasshouse Lane on Saturday in what was their first home game of the season, with the visitors taking the spoils 28 points to 34.
With the large crowd enjoying the late summer sunshine, it was Kenilworth who started the brighter of the two sides, and a period of early pressure led to a scrum penalty from which the Kenilworth driving maul took play close to the opposition line.
Charlie West took full advantage of the go-forward ball to jink through and reach over the line for the opening try of the contest. Conversion added through the boot of Mark O'Connor. Eight minutes gone, score 7-0.
Conceding inside the first ten minutes seemed to wake the travelling Banbury side who, from the restart, and through successive phases of play, eventually burrowed over from close-quarters having been camped on the home line for a short period. Kick good. 7-7. Ten minutes gone.
The next few minutes of the game were somewhat error-strewn, the Kenilworth attack faltering on occasion before Kenilworth were adjudged offside at the breakdown. Penalty kick good, with Banbury now ahead 7-10. Fifteen minutes on the clock.
A little over five minutes later, Kenilworth regained the lead thanks to a successful driving maul from a lineout inside the Banbury 22, with big Sam Herrington crashing over. O'Connor added the conversion, moving the score to 14-10, with 22 minutes played.
From the subsequent restart, Kenilworth coughed up possession cheaply and then infringed at the breakdown. Banbury capitalized on the error, adding the penalty. Score 14-13.
The see-saw nature of the opening half an hour continued as Kenilworth were to score next. Quick thinking from the returning Boulton saw a quick tap and feed to Bobby Thompson, taking play to within ten meters of the tryline.
With the Banbury defence stretched, centre Todd Freemantle picked a nice line to skip through for Kenilworth's second try of the game. Conversion added by O'Connor. Score 21-13, half an hour gone.
As the game entered the later stages of the first half Kenilworth, whilst having the better of possession, were not able to find their flow; a forward pass here or a knock-on there typical of the home side's staccato display thus far. The ball was lost in midfield from what should have been a routine catch and hit up in the midfield, and Banbury went back on the attack, scoring an impressive try finished off by their lively winger. Kick was good, half-time score 21-20.
The second half began as the first finished, with Banbury adding to their points haul for the day. The visiting full back pouncing on a deft chip over the top, adding to their score at 21-27, with Kenilworth needing to get a grip of the game or risk a first home defeat of the season. 40 minutes to go.
Five minutes later, and with Kenilworth still coughing up possession too easily, Banbury scored again having broken through the Kenilworth defence to score. Score 21-34.
After a passage of reasonably average play from both sides, at last a flash of brilliance, and from Kenilworth no less. A trademark carry from Kavanagh stretched the defence, before the exciting Charlie West at fly-half waltzed through the covering Banbury defence to score his second of the afternoon. Score 28-34, with five to go.
With Kenilworth now sensing the opportunity to steal the win, the home tails were up. Concerted pressure from Kenilworth saw Banbury penalised in midfield and West nudge the ball into the corner.
From the attacking lineout, the ball went loose and in regaining possession on the ground, Kenilworth were punished by the referee. Banbury cleared their lines, leaving a final score of 28-34.
Also on Saturday, Kenilworth Women lost by the narrowest of margins, away to Buckingham Swans 31 points to 30.
The next game for the Men's 1st XV is away to Syston RFC this Saturday, 23 Sept. 3.00pm. Kenilworth Women entertain Novocastrians on Sunday 24 at home, 2.00pm kick off.