After a long summer the first rainfall in months coincided with the start of the London South West 2 season. A short trip to Effingham and Leatherhead, a familiar opposition was the first challenge for King’s. A squad showing 8 1stXV league debutants meant that there was a sense of the unknown going into the fixture.
Things did not start well for Kings – a dropped kick off manfully cleared up by Sam Rhodes saw him concussed, just 10 seconds into the season. Effingham had the early pressure, eventually territory and possession told as ‘The Eagles’ forced their way over for a deserved early score. King’s slowly started to get into the game with a long range penalty from Max Morgan, however a second attempt narrowly missed, striking the right hand upright. The rest of the half was typical of an early season, wet weather game with plenty of knock ons and scrums, as well as 2 missed kicks from the usually reliable Eagles kicker meant the score stayed 7-3 to the home side until half time.
Turning around into the stiff wind it would have required a big effort from the King’s side to come away with the much wanted ‘W’ from the first game. King’s started the second half as they finished the first, on top in the scrum and searching for the next score. King’s managed the first score of the half through a second penalty for debutant Max Morgan, who then went one better to score an unconverted score in the corner to put King’s 11-7 up. The Eagles kicker then found his range again to bring Effingham back within a point. A scrum after the kick off saw George Taylor slice through the defence, round the full back and score under the posts. A simple conversion for Max Morgan pushed the score to 18-10 with 15 minutes left on the clock. Effingham pushed again, the game became scrappy with a number of off the ball incidents detracting from the contest. The Eagles did eventually score an unconverted try, however with not enough time left to find a final score.
An 18-15 win was a satisfying one for King’s in the opening league game of the season. The 8 debutants acquitting themselves extremely well and with plenty more boys still to come back, King’s are keen to push on and continue the momentum into next week’s new boys Old Tonbridgians, who comfortably beat Warlingham in their first game.