A White out at Warlingham.
Snow, snow, thick thick snow.
Most times this game would not have been played. The snow had to be blown off the lines and the lines remarked in blue so they could be seen. It wasn’t freezing as the temperature was stuck at 1c. It was a blizzard when we arrived at the ground but it fell so suddenly there was no warning and so both teams turned up and both teams wanted to play. The referee agreed but did have reservations. There was a lot of talk of calling the game off at 60 minutes which is the legal time required for a game to be considered completed.
Warlingham have had a horrid season. Their main thoughts going into the game was that the conditions would be a great leveller and so it proved.
King’s never really got going and seemed to believe they could score whenever they really wanted to which lead to complacency, over complication and trying to play from too far out on a day when catching the ball was all but impossible, tackling something nobody really wanted to do and running at any speed or over any distance was really quite tricky.
After just 5 minutes King’s kicked a penalty to the corner. A good lineout catch, a good drive and a blind side peel and Brook Wannop
scored our first try. Conversion missed. Complacency followed for 20 minutes and several opportunities missed. Shall we kick the ball to the corner again and repeat the trick for the first try. No, let’s run a back’s move from 60m out or let’s take a quick tap penalty instead.
Meanwhile Warlingham were growing in confidence as chances weren’t taken. Warlingham had a fine centre who really was a handful all game and when he broke a couple of midfield tackles the rest of the team watched in horror as he ran 60m to score. 5 all after 20 minutes.
King’s went back to the attack and after a couple of phases, Rory Jones
scored a spectacular try, jinking and sidestepping his way through most of the Warlingham team to score under the posts. Tom Dugarin
had an easy conversion.
Time to sit back and let Warlingham run at us again. Eventually they too scored a good try after a clean break. Another easy conversion made it 12 all with just a few minutes of the half left.
Warlingham’s turn to pat themselves on the back and with halftime beckoning they didn’t expect and neither did King’s probably, for a back’s move to come off and two long passes, both caught to lead to Luke Minors
, after a bit of juggling, scoring for King’s. Tom slotted the difficult conversion to give King’s the lead of 19 to 12 at half time.
All was well with the world and we were sure the second half would be ok.
Again Warlingham had other ideas and scored a penalty and a converted try to storm into a 19 to 22 lead. Surely we would score again. Maybe not as passes were dropped and penalties were given away in key places. Then injuries to George Ross
, Brett Williams
and Max Morgan
further disrupted King’s. Hands were now getting very cold.
crashed over from short range but the ball was adjudged short by the ref by the time he got in a position to see it. The minutes ticked by. It was 39 minutes when finally Luke Minors
at last got the ball in a bit of space and somehow managed to squeeze into the corner. Thank goodness we didn’t stop at 60….
A couple of plays to go but sensible kicking by King’s kept the ball away from any danger areas and the full time whistle was greeted with relief. Somehow we had got a bonus point win at 24 to 22. Warlingham probably deserved more but did get their first point, a losing bonus point, of the season. They are a great club and will be back next season. We wish them well and thank them for their hospitality on Saturday. Huge apologies to them as we didn’t hang around as we dashed back to see England game.
Special mention to the two 1XV debutants. Ali Cooper played at 6 and threw in all game. Our lineout worked better than usual and following Brett’s injury he moved up to hook with equal aplomb. Chris Moore
played at scrum half. Afterwards we discovered it was his first game of senior rugby having been playing school rugby till Christmas in SA. His arrival at KCS as a gap year teacher was well timed for us and his effort on Saturday was monumental. Box kicking with great precision and keeping his hands warm enough to give Rory enough decent ball for us to steal the match. I’m not sure he’d seen snow before like this and certainly had never played in anything as cold but then I don’t think any of us had either!
A win’s a win…