Josh Hickman secured the spoils with the final kick of the match as Kenilworth returned to winning ways against derby rivals Stratford on Saturday, writes Sophie Freestone.
The hosts got off to a brilliant start, scoring the opening try after just six minutes. An attack that started on half-way was finished off when Ed Hannam broke through the Stratford defence to cross on the left wing. Hickman’s conversion was just wide of the mark.
Stratford almost responded immediately, but some great defence from the home side on their five-metre line earned a penalty from which they cleared their lines.
A Kenilworth kick upfield then resulted in a turnover inside the visitors’ half, with the ball worked to the left before fly-half Alex Selby dived over under the posts. Hickman’s conversion gave Ks a 12-0 lead with just 15 minutes played.
Stratford responded with a penalty from Nath Geekie and were prevented from adding to their tally by a fine clearance kick from Gaz Renowden.
As the half-hour mark approached, Kenilworth were once again on the scoresheet. A kick to the corner from Renowden gave the home side a turnover five metres from the Stratford line. The ball was spun out to the left and full-back Jamie Mapletoft crossed in the corner to score his first try for the club. Hickman added the extras from out wide to make the score 19-3 at the break.
Stratford started the final 40 minutes positively, with a converted try near the posts from full-back Nath Geekie inside the opening five minutes closing the gap to nine points.
Kenilworth missed a penalty attempt before Stratford reduced the deficit further with a three-pointer of their own mid-way through the half.
A converted try in the 74th minute then gave Stratford a one-point lead to ensure a nervewracking finale.
Kenilworth piled on the pressure and the referee blew for an injury-time penalty just inside the Stratford half. And, in the last action of the game, Hickman produced a superb strike to seal the victory and reinvigorate his side’s title charge.