Whitchurch 28

Kenilworth 14

Whitchurch Rugby Club were the personification of resolute defence and creative spark as they beat Kenilworth at Edgeley Park.

The visitors arrived with an impressive record this season and were lying in second place, chasing the league leaders.

For the first 10 minutes it certainly looked like the much bigger Kenilworth pack would cause damage to the much vaunted but lighter home eight.

Whitchurch were camped on their line but refused to let anyone cross the try line. This defiance cost the home side a yellow card for captain Jon Cope as the defence stepped over the offside line in their determination.

Despite being one man down, the reds began to exert pressure of their own as the forwards grew in dominance and their reward came on 20 minutes when a driving maul was finished off out wide by Jake Bailey. Danny Nicholas converted to give an unexpected seven nil lead.

Cope returned to the fray and Whitchurch grew in confidence, stopping all attacks at source and distributing the ball out to the backs. after half an hour of the game, with the home side going through phases after phase, the ball came out to Mike Gardiner at outside centre and he threw a subtle dummy and rounded the defence to score under the posts. Nicholas made no mistake with the kick.

Half-time saw the score 14-0 and the visitors were in shock.

Shortly after the second-half started, Gardiner suffered a collision that saw him leave the field and replaced by Ollie Brown. Coach Scott Sturdy was soon having to alter the side as Tom Hales then had to leave the field replaced by Callum Southall.

Callum Southall replaced him and Mike Oakden, returning from injury, came on as hooker.

Within minutes Whitchurch had a lineout on their opponents 22 and a clean catch by the towering Matt Owen. was followed by the traditional rolling maul of Whitchurch. As the maul gained pace and the defenders back pedalled at pace, Oakden saw his chance and broke of the back to crash over from five metres. Nicholas obliged again with the kick.

Kenilworth began to show why they have promotion in their sights and were awarded a penalty try when the referee adjudged Jake Rees to be offside at a quick tap penalty close to the Whitchurch line. The visitors were awarded and seven points and Jake Rees went to the sin bin for 10 minutes for being offside.

The home side responded as Henry Hockenhull scored and Nicolas converted. to what they saw as an injustice by taking their visitors straight back downfield through the boot of Nicholas.

Good hands enabled Henry Hockenhull to display his great talents and glide through to score close in.

Nicholas completed a faultless afternoon by converting.

Almost immediately, another injury followed with Jake Rees, in such fine form, had to go off with an eye injury.

Kenilworth came again and again but the tackling by the reds was superb.

Whitchurch were finally undone in the 11th minute of extra time when their line was crossed but it was too late. for the first time in a melee of dubious nature.

Man of the match could have been given to almost any one of the home team but young Nathan Horton stood out for his fearless and perfectly timed tackling.