Rugby union
Kings recover to see off strugglers

By Liam Moakes 24/04 Updated: 24/04 15:13

KINGS NORTON showed plenty of fighting spirit as they recovered from a ten-point half time deficit to prevail 32-15 at relegation-haunted Old Yardleians in Midlands Three West (South) on Saturday.

The fifth placed visitors looked likely to fall victim to an upset against the division's bottom placed side as they trailed 15-5 at the break, but coach Ian Jackson read the riot act and his team responded in style to earn a victory which takes them to within two points of fourth placed Woodrush.

The visitors travelled without a number of their student players and with both captain Phil Stock and scrum half Ken Whitehouse injured, but nevertheless were still able to field a strong team who set about their task in determined fashion.

However, they soon found the home side, despite their lowly league position, were intent on making life difficult for them and Norton were on the back foot as Old Yardleians attacked from the off.

A tremendous try-saving tackle by stand-in right winger Ben Boyce foiled a determined run to the line and Kings finally counter-attacked, only to see a simple penalty opportunity sail wide.

Kings maintained the pressure and won another penalty, this time choosing the scrum option, but were easily thwarted by the stronger home pack.

Yards then attacked with gusto and eventually Kings' defence cracked and they fell behind to a good run down the left wing for an unconverted try after 17 minutes.

Kings replied immediately with their own try by that man again, Boyce, whose strong run down the touchline took him over the line, breaking tackles right at the corner flag.

The play continued with both teams working hard to gain the advantage but the home pack were winning all of the lineouts and causing Kings' lighter forwards plenty of problems in the scrums.

After a good spell where Yassin Ayachi and Gareth Johnson were causing troubles through the centre, Kings were rocked back when Yardleians retook the lead as they scored their second try, again by scoring in the left hand corner.

As the clock ticked down, the home pack drove hard for Kings' goalline and scored a good forwards try, but missed the simple conversion attempt to finish the half 15-5 up.

Kings' coach Jackson then had his say and there was a rapid improvement on resumption and ten minutes into the half, after three phases of forward play, Johnson received the ball and made a strong break for the line, eventually Tom Hatfield gathered and took the ball over the line for the first of his three tries.

Chris Carlin was narrowly wide with the conversion effort and from the restart Old Yards were soon back in business as they almost went over from a quickly taken penalty, only to knock-on with the line just a couple of metres away.

Kings fought their way back upfield and created a good backs move which saw centre Carlin cross the line to level the score with another unconverted try.

Moments later, after yet another good Ayachi break, feeding off Jack Fairhurst's pass created a simple penalty kick which Carlin converted to put Kings ahead for the first time at 18-15 with 14 minutes remaining.

As Old Yards tired, Kings full back Louis Stelling kicked a monster effort deep into home territory which created havoc and, from another three forward phases from Kings' pack, Hatfield went over for his second score, converted by Carlin, to clinch the four-try bonus point.

Then on the stroke of full time Hatfield bagged his hat-trick try as he charged through to score under the posts before Carlin added the extras.

Kings return to league action with their Presidents Day match against Redditch on April 14.

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