by Paul Cacker
Kings win a free flowing encounter
Match report: KN 2nd XV versus Evesham 3rd XV
Kings Norton 2nd XV were in action away at Evesham, against their 3rd XV. Starting with the wind and slope against them, Kings made an early statement of intent with a high tempo breed of rugby from the off. A combination of forward power and guile from the three quarters took them into the hosts' half, at which point temporary number 8 Kris Fem took up the charge. Evesham managed to hold firm, but only just. Several early attacks came close, with fly half Ed Foggette pulling the strings like a master Punch & Judy puppeteer on Blackpool beach. As play went from right to left and right again, opportunity knocked for newby winger Chris Handsome who touched down in the corner. First blood to the Kings' men.
There was no let up for the Evesham lads. From their restart, Sam Jones claimed the ball and set his sights on the heart of the home team's defence. Combining the speed of the cheetah, the power of the hippopotamus and the facial hair of an elderly baboon, Jones broke tackle after tackle. The support was on hand to maintain momentum, with the back row brace of George Elsbels and Oli La Frop adding both weight and power to Jones' power to weight ratio. The ball came quick on a velvet platter for Ed Foggette. Patrick Swayze ran the ghost line, and in went Foggette for Kings' second try.
Evesham, stung by those two tries, went on the offensive, but were getting no change from a KN team that weren't giving a quarter. If they kicked long, full back Mike Smilin had it all covered. If they went wide, wingers Handsome and Arj nailed their man. If the hosts' pack went tight, the men amongst Kings men never took a step backwards. Possession came to Kings, from which young Foggette again teased and tortured the Evesham 15 with the sweetest of kicks. The chasers quite literally gobbled up the ball, and suddenly KN took the game into the danger zone. Young prop Jordan Jones thundered onwards and went close. Centres Swayze and Connor probed with reckless abandon. Finally, the pressure told and as the ball went left scrum half Paul Cacker was the grateful recipient of a run-in try. Not long after, the referee blew for half time, leaving Kings with a very satisfying 15-0 half time lead.
If Kings started the first half with a bang, it was Evesham who took the initiative for the second half. Early field position led to a line out in the visitors 22, from which their powerful catch and drive produced a converted try. Kings suddenly found themselves with a game on their hands, from opposition who had come had to life. Try as they might to gain field position and territory, KN found themselves pegged back in their own half. Valiant defence from the likes of Fem and Jack Flash kept the attackers at bay for a time, but the hosts knew their best line of attack was the driving line-out, and again it produced a well deserved try. From a 15-0 lead at half time, 15-14 was too close to comfort. Cometh the moment though, cometh the Kings Men. Full back Mike Smilin ably gathered an Evesham kick from deep in his own half, and gave that ball the mother of all wallops to give Kings their first decent bit of territory in the half. An attritional 5 minutes of rugby saw KN literally make progress yard by yard. The front five set the platform with an awesome scrum for Fem to link with Chris Handsome on the blind side, to give Handsome his second try and Kings some much needed breathing space.
This was the boost KN needed to re-establish themselves in the game. For some of the older players, this was their second game in four days, but you would never have known it; scrum half Paul Cacker playing like a man half his age, and vintage prop Ian Buckle playing like a man half his weight. It was true 15 man rugby, with the second row partnership of Sam Jones and Jack Flash hurling themselves into contact, with Jones Jordan and Buzz keeping things going. Out to the backs and deft hands from Swayze put Foggette away for his second try.
Evesham weren't quite done, and with a final roll of the dice got themselves an unconverted try - just rewards for playing their part in a great contest. Moments later the referee blew for full time and Kings celebrated a 25-19 win full of quality rugby that was free-flowing and hard fought in equal measures.