Kenilworth suffered a setback in their bid to finish in third place with a comprehensive 55-17 defeat at Southam, who in turn boosted their survival chances, writes Sophie Freestone.
Three first-half tries and a penalty opened up a 27-10 lead at the break with Kenilworth’s only response coming from scrum-half Gareth Renowden.
Southam then continued their tryscoring exploits in the second half with a further four, including three in quick succession.
The hosts started the match will real intent, with Will Grindal opening up an early three-point lead with a penalty from in front of the posts.
Southam were back on the scoreboard straight from the restart when winger Sam Bench made a break up the left wing to score under the posts. Grindal’s successful conversion made the score 10-0 after just four minutes of play.
As the match wore on Kenilworth began to settle and after a series of drives from the forwards, Renowden burrowed over for his first. The conversion was missed.
Rhys Jones then added a second for Kenilworth, diving over on the left. That try brought the scores level but Kenilworth were unable to take a two-point lead when the conversion attempt was dragged wide of the uprights.
Southam continued to press Kenilworth, however, and Bench once again showed his pace on the wing, sidestepping his way to the line to once again touch down under the posts. Grindal was again on target with the conversion to extend his side’s lead just after the half-hour mark.
A second Grindal penalty established a ten- point cushion for the hosts before Grindal went over himself on the right-hand side on the stroke of half-time. Winger Joe Tresenden broke from halfway before passing to Grindal for the try. Another successful kick from Grindal gave his side a comfortable 27-10 lead at the break.
Despite the flurry of points in the first half, the opening 20 minutes of the second half saw few try-scoring opportunities.
It was a period in which Kenilworth showed their attacking intent but the visitors were unable to break through the tough Southam defence.
Such was the hosts’ defensive effort, there were 60 minutes on the clock before a point was finally scored. Southam turned the tables on Kenilworth to cross for their fourth of the afternoon courtesy of fly-half Tom Grimes who intercepted to touch down. Grindal added the extras.
Kenilworth responded with a second of the afternoon for Renowden, who sniped over from a ruck just a few metres out. The conversion closed the gap to 17 points.
Southam were just too good on the day, however, and three tries in quick succession put the game beyond Kenilworth.
Tresenden appeared on the opposite wing before coming infield and breaking through for a clear run to the line, with Grindal converting.
Two further tries shortly afterwards were again converted by Grindal, including one from hooker Sam Deeming following a driving maul, to give the hosts a comfortable victory in the penultimate match of the season.