Hamnett's first-half double leaves Kenilworth with far too much to do
Buckinghamshire-based Olney proved too strong for Kenilworth as they ended the Glasshouse Lane side's Intermediate Cup campaign in the first round, writes Sophie Freestone.
The last time these two sides met was back in the 1940s and it was Olney that 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. Kenilworth had been penalised at the ruck and the resulting five-metre lineout gave Olney the field position they needed for flanker Ryan Hammett to go over out wide for his first try for the senior side.
Olney pressurised the Kenilworth defence for much of the first quarter and found their way through again in the 17th minute. Fly-half Jordan Letts kicked downfield and with a number of Olney players chasing to regain possession, he fired the ball out to centre Hamish Bull who touched down in the corner. Scrum-half Kieren Manson’s touchline conversion was on target to give his side a 12-point advantage.
Kenilworth responded well and were eventually rewarded with a penalty deep inside the Olney half.
The subsequent five-metre 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 with 30 minutes played.
Olney quickly re-established their 12-point cushion, Hammett touching down from the back of a driving maul for his second of the afternoon after indiscipline from Kenilworth gave the visitors an attacking lineout.
Manson was once again on target with the conversion to take his side in at the interval with a 19-7 lead.
Kenilworth’s second-half performance was much improved and they restricted Olney to just a single penalty from Manson as the 50-minute mark approached.
Despite trailing 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 in the 54th minute.
Gareth Renowden, playing at number ten, made no mistake with the conversion to put his side just eight points adrift with more than a quarter of the match left to play.
As the match entered the final 20, Kenilworth pressed their visitors back. However, some powerful defence from Olney, particularly in the closing ten minutes, prevented the home side from breaching their line again and it was the Buckinghamshire side who progressed.
Meanwhile, Kenilworth’s 2nd XV secured a 31-19 victory over Harbury while their ladies’ side beat Old Silhillians 71-0.
Phoebe Howles scored four tries for Kenilworth, 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.