Rugby returns to Turney Road with a King's win
Match report from Captain and DotD John Ledger
After a bonus point victory last time out against a strong HSBC side, the anticipation was heavy in the air at Turney Road for the first home game of the season, against local rivals Southwark Lancers. After watching the mighty 2’s play some lovely rugby to secure a win in the early kickoff, the 1st XV were fired up, and with a full sideline of supporters, there was a real sense of continuing from the good result of the previous weekend.
A sense that King's did their very best to undermine in the first play of the game. Kicking off, Harry Clark soared a ball close to the Lancers touchline, and under pressure from the onrushing Kings back row, their prop spilled it. Quick thinking saw Ratty dive on the loose ball, which was whipped along the backline – only for King's to force an offload too far, allowing the Lancers centre to intercept and race under the posts. King's were 5 down, with less than a minute of rugby played. Fortunately, the Lancers kicker failed to bisect the posts from right in front.
The next few minutes saw the two teams sizing each other up at the set piece, with parity at scrum time, but with Lancers having the upper hand at the lineout. Eventually, however, King's made the breakthrough, with the returning Ceri Thomas forcing his way through a gap in the midfield, and with good support lines from the rest of the backline, the ball was eventually moved for crowd favourite John Behan to touch down. After a hard battle, King's had managed to erase their initial error, and were now looking to go on and build a lead. Before the change of ends, King's scored again, to go in at halftime with noses in front.
Much like the week before at HSBC, the chat at half time was very much to keep playing the same way, keep fronting up in the tackle area, and the points would come.
Early in the second half, King's pressure told again, with Liam Harris scoring after a Harry Clark kick put the Lancers winger under pressure, and a good chase and tackle saw a spilled ball scooped up and dotted down. Then, for a 20 minute spell, it all became one way traffic, with the Kings backline showing their clinical finishing, leading to the running in of 3 more tries, with John Behan getting some more scores (to take his personal tally to 3, much to the delight of his adoring travelling fan-base on the sidelines), and Fraser Allan scoring his first try for Kings. Of note was some strong (and fast!) running from new winger James Treddinick, who had warned Lancers with some half breaks before he managed to pin his ears back on the outside, before scything inside to set up a score after some good offloading and support work.
There was still time for King's to have to defend their own line, and leak two tries, allowing Lancers to sniff an improbable comeback, which was snuffed out by a King's penalty to take the final score to 37-19.
All in all, a strong performance, with some good performances across the park - Nick Stanley and Nic Oakley in the back row gave great physicality all day, keeping Lancers big runners at bay, while in the midfield the returning Ceri Thomas picked up where he left off last season with some strong breaks. And Harry Clark orchestrated things well from 10, pulling the strings throughout the game. Roll on next weekend – another short trip to RBS, to try and gain even more SE London bragging rights, and keep the strong start to the season going.