Atherstone 16 Kings Norton 14
Midlands Four West (South)
KINGS had only themselves to blame for losing this challenging and closely fought encounter in the final moments on Saturday.
Having fought their way back from a half time deficit of 13 points, the visitors had worked hard to try and overcome a robust Atherstone who had used the strong wind to their advantage to cross Kings’ try line twice and kick a penalty in the first half.
Two blood injuries and losing inspirational second row Tom Kendrick with a hand injury within 15 minutes of the start served to disrupt the visitors’ rhythm and, despite the usually reliable Atherstone kicker having a shocker, the home team eventually crossed after 30 minutes when their back row powered through weak tackling to touch down close to the posts.
The home team constantly used the strong wind to their advantage and pressurised Kings’ defence with a barrage of searching kicks. Eventually Kings were caught offside and the North Warwickshire side were successful with one kick.
As the clock ticked towards half time, Atherstone extended their lead with an excellent unconverted try to end the half 13-0 up.
The second half continued in similar robust fashion and the visitors lost captain Shane Rees to the sin-bin, but the visitors still looked much stronger and more likely to score.
From one Atherstone clearance a quick lineout taken by winger Ryan Morey, who threw the ball long to Ben Manners, saw the full back race over half the length of the pitch to outpace Atherstone’s defence and score between the posts, with Rees converting.
Kings maintained their pressure and only stout Atherstone defence and poor decision-making continued to frustrate Kings’ constant efforts to break down the home defence until No 8 Will Greenwood’s produced a powerful and unstoppable 35-metre dash to the line to touch down and Rees converted to give Kings a slender but deserved lead with just eight minutes remaining.
With a close Kings victory almost in their grasp, an error between the scrum half and back row allowed Atherstone to regain possession at a scrum and attack the visitors’ line, catching Kings offside.
The penalty kick was missed but poor discipline and decision-making gave Atherstone two more penalty opportunities and their final and successful kick snatched a deserved victory away from their visitors.
Kings’ 2nds also travelled to Atherstone and won the contest 64-0 against a depleted home team.
Fourth placed Kings are without a league match on Saturday and are in the pool for a fixture ahead of their return to league action on November 15 at home to Claverdon.