By Liam Moakes Monday 07 January 2013 Updated: 10/01 10:10
KINGS NORTON were made to pay for three basic errors as they were beaten 20-17 by Coventry visitors Pinley in their first Midlands Three West (South) game of the year on Saturday.
Pinley were the better organised outfit and sharper to the breakdown, but Kings' tight play around the pack and strength in the centre pinned down many of the Coventry club's breaks, yet the hosts were ultimately undone by their errors at crucial times.
Chris Carlin's second minute penalty flew narrowly wide of the posts after Pinley were penalised for going over the top but the ball was cleared and Pinley mounted their first attack which also came to little.
Kings came back hard and after a short period of forward drives Carlin broke through to feed Gareth Johnson who had to work hard and break three tackles before crossing for the hosts' first score which Carlin easily converted after 14 minutes.
Then Kings made the first of their three simple but expensive errors as a clever long range punt to Kings' right hand corner, after the ball had been fumbled, was seized upon by Pinley who had the simple matter of picking up the ball and diving over to score an unconverted try.
The remainder of the first half saw both teams working hard, mainly in midfield to gain any advantage. One good spell of home forwards attacking created a penalty opportunity which Kings kicked for lineout possession, but this advantage came to nothing.
Pinley returned the compliment and also went close with a penalty as did Kings again as No 12 Carlin's effort flew narrowly wide.
Then full back Pete Crompton went on a good run and fed Chris Hands, who slip passed to the supporting Kris Fenn who was eventually thwarted on Pinley's 22m line by good defence.
Pinley then went on the offensive and drove upfield, bringing their fast threequarters into play, but failed to score as the ball crossed the line and Kings touched down first.
Then came the second of Kings' expensive errors. A poor 22m drop out was snaffled in the centre by Pinley and a poor kick ahead by them was misfielded by the Kings receiving player whose approaching opponent then simply stole the ball to race over and give Pinley a 10-7 half time lead.
From the restart Kings made matters worse for themselves as they strove to force their opponents backwards. Kings constantly gained good possession from scrums and in loose play but after 50 minutes an adventurous long range pass from the home fly half was intercepted by a Pinley centre who raced over the line to score between the posts and give his kicker an easy conversion which extended their lead to 17-7.
As Kings tried hard to get themselves into the game, they conceded yet another penalty in front of the posts on the hour mark which Pinley converted to leave Kings with a mountain to climb.
The home side brought on Rob McGhee and Ben Boyce to bolster their pack and this began to work for the Hopwood side as a great drive by Johnson and Fenn took them close, where McGhee picked up and raced over to score a good try which was unconverted.
Pinley had their backs to the wall but stout defence held the home side's efforts at bay until Kings finally scored a pushover try as Sam Westwood touched down.
Carlin missed the long range conversion and the final whistle finally went just after Pinley had gone close, with Kings coming up short of a victory by four points and having to settle for a losing bonus point.
Fifth placed Kings Norton were pleased to field three teams in this first Saturday of the new year and look forward to travelling to play Cheltenham North in the league tomorrow.
Kings Norton Veterans are looking for Wednesday evening fixtures under their floodlights against veterans teams from other local clubs or groups. Contact Kings Norton's fixture secretary Bill Hendon for details at www.knrfc.co.uk.
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