King’s click into gear against Old Gravesendians
Match report from Captain John Ledger
King’s produced a convincing 33 point win over Old Gravesendians on Saturday, fitting of the KIPIRs kit the home side wore after a kit clash. And in true KIPIRs style, the game was won with some excellent tries and fast flowing rugby, with offloads and line breaks a plenty.
After a seasons break, King’s welcomed Old Gravesendians back to Turney Road. With the visiting side sitting just below them in the table, King’s went into the game knowing it would be a real test, but also a chance to get back to winning ways after a disappointing 4 point loss to league leaders Beccehamians last time out. A home crowd featuring John ‘Fan Favourite’ Behan, still recovering from a nasty leg break, only added to the King’s desire to play with some style and record a home win.
The game started with a couple of King’s errors putting them firmly in their own half, and having to repel some strong Gravesendians runners, especially through the visitor’s powerful centres, with Ian Williams and Ceri Thomas putting in an early defensive shift. However, on their first foray upfield, a lovely Nic Oakley break and offload saw returning second row Tom Rossor go for a trundle, and quick ball from the resulting ruck allowed the ever impressive Harry Clark to scythe through the Gravesendians backline, with the move eventually finished by King’s number 9 Fraser Allan (I think), who had an impressive game all round. Points slotted by Harry, and King’s were 7-0 up.
Gravesendians came straight back at King’s, however, and some good play along their backline saw their winger force his way over in the corner, despite some confusion surrounding a high tackle and the touchline. King’s had been immediately pinned back. From then on, the game settled into something of a pattern, with King’s having the slight upper hand at scrum time, but struggling to create a solid platform at the lineout – however, the home side looked lively out wide, with winger George Edgar putting in an eye-catching shift, with even my mum commenting on how impressive his angles of running were (cheers Jules!) King’s began to assert some dominance, and before half time Harry Clark crossed the whitewash, as did Thomas Wilson, who dotted down for his first try for King’s in an individual performance of real industry.
At half time, the message from Coach Ed was to keep playing, but to improve the defensive line speed, to increase the pressure on Gravesendians big runners. As the second half began, King’s managed to put themselves under pressure by giving away poor penalties in their own half, which allowed the Gravesendian’s 10 to kick for the corner – from one resulting lineout drive, the away side bundled over, and King’s began to face up to the fact they were firmly in a contest.
However, some changes up front, with Pete Farrell and George Wagg providing fresh legs, saw King’s begin to match Old G’s in the forwards, which allowed King’s to run in 4 tries with some slick backs play. Perhaps the pick of the bunch was Tim Pope running in under the posts on a lovely line from 15, after being fed by a excellent delayed pass from Harry Clark, but King’s also finished the game with a break straight from receiving a kick off, with offloads flying left and right, and Adam Clarke, moved into centre from the wing at half time, finishing it all off with aplomb.
All in all, a good day at the office, as King’s jumped into third in the league. Most impressive was the improvement in certain areas, such as defensive line speed, during the course of the match, as well as the impact of all three subs off the bench, but the lineout still needs some fine-tuning, and lazy penalties in our own half almost allowed Gravesendians a foothold back in the game early in the second period.
Next week is a tough assignment away at Sittingbourne, somewhere King’s have struggled in the past. Training as always on Tuesday night – don’t miss it.