Five Ways Old Edwardians 0 Kings Norton 33
Midlands Four West (South)
KINGS Norton clinched a third placed finish as they completed their league season where it began with a convincing victory over neighbours Five Ways Old Edwardians.
Despite their lowly league position, the Old Boys made Kings work hard for the victory they needed to finish third in a league that was always going to be dominated by the reborn Rugby Lions, who stormed through this and the previous season undefeated.
Kings needed both a victory and the four-try bonus point to finish above Claverdon by one point and they proved up to the task.
The early skirmishes saw the home side miss a sixth minute penalty opportunity before a much-changed Kings side began to get their game together.
Jack Gregory took the ball on from a good forward drive to score a neat try after 11 minutes but captain Shane Rees – playing at fly half – saw his wind-assisted kick fly wide of the posts.
Despite some stout defending by the home side, Kings’ dynamic trio of Rob McGhee, Chris Hands and the effervescent Ben Boyce were to the fore as the reorganised Kings pack constantly pressurised them and after 17 minutes Hands broke away to score a fine effort close to the posts which Rees converted.
Five Ways tightened their defence and for a lengthy period of the first half were able to contain their visitors’ attack, tying Kings down in their own half and thwarting any further first half scoring.
The second period saw Kings contain a spirited home side who were tackling like demons, however with the occasionally available mercurial Ken Whitehouse rolling back the years at scrum half, this led to him releasing his captain to score and convert Kings’ third try.
Jack Barwick at inside centre used his speed to take advantage of plenty of ball to create opportunities for his comrades and from one Hands break McGhee took the ball on and fed the supporting Waudby, who was eventually held up over the line.
The second charge by Tom Kendrick and McGhee saw them held up over the line but a series of scrums continued close to the home line before more tricky play by Whitehouse provided a telling pass to Alex Stylianou, who crossed for the all-important fourth try to which Rees added the extras.
Kings’ fifth try was scored when Will Greenwood went on one of his typically unstoppable runs to score between the posts and a delighted Rees gladly slotted over the conversion.
Although Five Ways were beaten, they can hold their heads high following their defensive efforts in containing a highly-motivated squad from across the lane.
With a number of first team players away on tour, a depleted Kings Norton turn their attention to Saturday’s (3pm) North Midlands Vase semi-final in Shropshire against well respected Cleobury Mortimer.
The victors will take on Evesham in the final at Dudley Kingswinford on May 10.