Shottery 12 Kenilworth Pirates 12
RUGBY World Cup fever arrived in Stratford with a grandstand finish to a thrilling game as memories of Jonny Wilkinson’s drop goal in the 2003 final came to mind at the end of a tense encounter at Pearcecroft on Saturday.
Visitors Kenilworth Pirates turned up with a side bristling with capable talent and relishing the challenge.
Guest referee and local veteran winger Jason Bloomfield stepped in at late notice to get the game underway and was called into action in making an unusual decision, insisting winger Steve Day retired from the field having lost his contact lenses in a tackle.
The Blue & Whites soon made a replacement and play resumed, although Day was left a little bemused on the touchline.
A tight affair was dominated by the forwards as Shottery edged the scrums and Kenilworth profited at the lineout. However, the difference in the game was ultimately made away from the pack as both sides scored a brace of tries apiece through the back line.
Shottery struck first when Matt Aston evaded a tackle with a positive hand-off to cross the whitewash in the first half.
Kenilworth responded soon after the break with a try in the corner before the hosts hit back as the fleet-footed Dan Cramp used good footwork to deftly cross between the posts.
Shottery remained on top until, having opted for uncontested scrums, Kenilworth were able to put together a well practised back line move to level the score.
A tense finish to the game saw onlookers delighted by a left-footed attempted drop goal by Shottery’s Hugh George at the death.
George, dismayed at Shottery’s poor effort with the boot, took matters into his own hands and very nearly clinched a win as he just clipped the upright with a left-footed drop in open play.
Following the match Shottery skipper Eugene Hickey said: “What am amazing game of rugby for all involved. Seeing Hugh throw caution to the wind at the end with a ‘who dares wins’ attitude left a lump in my throat.
“This is what rugby is all about and we are looking forward to our next fixture.”