Rugby union
Kings shade tight derby encounter

By Liam Moakes Tuesday 06 November 2012 Updated: 12/11 16:00

THERE was passion aplenty on show on Saturday as Kings Norton edged to a 10-6 victory at Woodrush's Icknield Street home in the Midlands Three West (South) derby.

The wet conditions, coupled with two closely matched and passionate teams, ensured a tight scoreline in this hard fought derby.

Officials from both clubs are now searching their records to confirm how many games have been played between the two rivals since Kings last emerged victorious and it is thought to have been some seven or eight years.

Kings started well but were unable to break through the home side's determined defence as Woodrush gradually gained momentum and similarly pressurised the Hopwood club's own defence, finally putting themselves into the lead with a Steve Smart penalty after 15 minutes after the Kings pack had illegally handled in a tackle.

Five minutes later Woods' captain and full back John Board went on one of his trademark runs, only to be stopped short of the line and, after Kings had cleared their lines with a defensive kick which the home left winger gathered, Woodrush would have extended their narrow lead but for a try-saving tackle by Norton's centre Chris Carlin.

As the home team attacked again down the left wing with the line in sight a final forward pass saved Kings from falling further behind.

With their tails up, Woods attacked through their forwards and won a second penalty opportunity which Smart easily converted to increase the hosts' lead to 6-0.

Kings then came back into the game and Ken Whitehouse almost scored as he raced through but was adjudged to have been held up over the line.

From the resulting 5m scrummage Kings then knocked on as they went for a back row move and the half time whistle then stopped any further play.

The second period of play was a very similar affair with both sides determined to battle for victory hard and fair in the true spirit of the game.

Almost from the kick-off Carlin had a great run, only to be well tackled well inside Woodrush territory.

The Ash Lane visitors kept the pressure on and won a penalty after 45 minutes which Carlin converted to close the gap to just three points.

Kings now had their tails up and it was the turn of the Woodrush defence to feel the pressure. Much of the second half was played in home territory but, with both sides struggling in the wet conditions, many unforced errors occurred.

However, with an hour on the clock Kris Fenn made the important score when he collected the ball close to the Woodrush line and crashed over for a try close to the posts.

Carlin added the extras and Kings held on to their lead until the final whistle to seal a win which lifted them above Woodrush into fifth spot on 23 points, with Woodrush a place and a point below.

Woodrush host Aston Old Edwardians in the second round of the North Midlands Shield tomorrow whilst Kings, who have a walkover against Lordswood Dixonians, go to the fixture pool.

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