Kings Norton 27 Birmingham Civil Service 22
Midlands Four West (South)
REJUVENATED Kings moved up to fifth place with this hard fought victory over basement boys Civil Service on Saturday which was too close for comfort.
Playing with the advantage of a howling cross wind, Kings soon made headway as their forwards made progress and drove over the whitewash after five minutes for a try from hooker Jim Townsend converted by captain Shane Rees.
Their visitors, who defended well throughout this contest, soon showed their strength as they worked their way upfield and after ten minutes released their fast men who worked the ball and scored out wide.
Kings began to settle and played most of the first period in the visitors’ half without dominating possession as Civil Service constantly stole the ball at the breakdowns.
Eventually Civil Service were broken down when veteran Richard Revell broke away before passing to Will Greenwood who fed supporting full back James Pritchard, who made no mistake in touching down for Kings’ second try, although the conversion kick from Rees sailed narrowly wide.
Kings then scored a third try when Greenwood seized upon a Civil Service mistake and gathered the loose ball well to race over for a fine solo effort, although again the extra points went begging.
Civil Service began the second half 17-5 down but constantly used the wind to gain territory, however it was Kings who made their tight play count with a well worked try by Steve Rowe who finished a strong forward spell to cross for another unconverted try in the corner which secured a bonus point.
Kings continued to pressurise and centre Pete Crompton’s strong running created good opportunities which went begging as their efforts were regularly thwarted by the visitors’ defence who began to turn the game in their favour.
Having reduced their arrears to 22-10, long range clearance kicks from the visitors began to sap the strength of the Hopwood men and the final ten-minute spell saw Civil Service level the score with two tries – one converted – with only a couple of minutes to play.
Kings were suddenly fired up and from the restart worked their way upfield and a spell of close passing by the forwards created a dubious penalty opportunity in front of the posts.
The ball was quickly taken and Chris Hands crossed the line to score. Again the conversion was missed but, with no time for a restart, Kings ran out victors against a very spirited Civil Service who probably had good reason to feel they deserved a draw.
Kings will need to be at their best on Saturday when they travel to third placed Claverdon, who have only lost twice this season in the league by narrow margins.