Kings Norton 0 Rugby Lions 10
Midlands Four West (South)
WITH both teams unbeaten before Saturday’s match, something had to give in this top of the table clash at Hopwood.
Rugby Lions took the points but had to work hard and rely on their luck in this very well fought contest. The Warwickshire visitors came to Ash Lane expecting another easy ride in their quest to climb back through the league system, but were surprised at the physical intensity of their opposition, both in defence and attack.
The Lions were fortunate to win, as most neutrals would say a draw would have been a fairer result.
The visitors attacked from the off and took advantage of an early penalty to open the scoring when Kings infringed in front of their posts.
Both sides tested each other in the opening quarter and on the 20-minute mark Kings finally had the opportunity to level the score but Shane Rees’ penalty kick flew just wide of the left upright.
Although Kings’ forwards were generally held in the tight, they were often first to the breakdowns and more dominant in the loose play. Lions’ talented backs found no way through the home defence, often resorting to kicking possession without effect.
Kings’ attack worked hard to find any way through the Lions but their efforts were generally contained with last-ditch tackles.
Kings took the second period by the scruff of the neck and threw everything at the Lions, pinning them back in their own half for long periods, and full back Ben Manners was unlucky with two long range penalty kicks.
When the visitors did break out, Kings’ defence thwarted their efforts and a couple of try-saving tackles by first Manners and then No 10 Jack Barwick allowed Kings to clear their lines.
The crucial moment came with just nine minutes left when a speculative long kick ahead from a Lions centre was chased by their winger, who reached the ball simultaneously with Manners to touch the ball down extremely close to the deadball line and the referee awarded a questionable try which was easily converted.
Kings then mounted attack after attack, pinning their opponents in their 22m area right up to the final whistle, and were unlucky to have a try by winger Sam Back disallowed with just three minutes to go.
Kings are in action on Saturday (3pm) when they travel to Coventry to take on Stoke Old Boys.