KENILWORTH celebrated reaching the final of the Warwickshire 1st XV Shield after a fine 31-24 win over Spartans.
The tie which took place at Berkswell & Balsall proved a tough one for Kenilworth in the scrum, but they found great success thanks to their overall fitness levels and athleticism.
It was clear proceedings would not be plain-sailing when conceding an early converted try on the sloped pitch in the opening stages, but they had Bobby Thompson to thank for a try to narrow the gap to 5-7.
Spartans were gifted a number of penalties and fell behind rapidly after conceding another converted try, trailing 5-14.
Their early struggles were soon forgotten though, when they produced a fine fight-back through Josh O’Brien and Thompson tries – the second converted – to overturn the scores and lead 17-14 at the break.
Rhys Jones was forced off through injury, presenting Jimmy Middleton with some match action, whilst Chris Pemble replaced Jack Read who picked up a knock.
Mark Wylie’s introduction further bolstered the front row later in the game, but not before a penalty conceded by Kenilworth took the scores to 17 all.
Second-row Josh Fox was tireless and crafted out a chance, which Gareth Renowden finished with a converted try.
Kenilworth were reduced to 14 men after persistent offsides from Harry Abell sent him to the sin-bin for ten minutes, although Tom Naismith was still able to strike with a converted try to extend their lead to 31-17.
Prop Rhidian Booth received a yellow which cost the depleted Kenilworth, who conceded another try to reduce Spartans’ deficit to seven points.
It would prove enough of an advantage though, to see off their opponents and advance to the final in which they will face either Earlsdon or Pinley.
Head coach Dave Ellis nominated Thompson as his man of the match, giving him the compliment of “doing the work of three men” – holding his captain in the highest of regards.
Kenilworth next welcome Southam on Saturday (3pm), when the league leaders return to match action against tenth-placed Southam in Midlands 2 West (South).
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