25 players were on the original team sheet for the 2XV at the beginning of the day although this had diminished by kick off with a number of no-shows (not to mention Simon Wells's tired and emotional state) causing the starting team to be jigged around to accommodate. Tom Smith made his debut for the club on the right-wing.
Early exchanges were fairly even with Chris de Beneducci and Ted Rickard dealing well with Old Paulines' hard running (and tackling) centres with a number of penalties given away around the half way line for both teams for a variety of infringements. King's eventually won one within kicking distance which allowed Jack Smith to put King's into a 3-0 lead. This didn't last long however as some patchy defending allowed OPs to cross in the corner for an unconverted try, which they later added to with a penalty (later cancelled out by another from Smith) in an otherwise unremarkable first half, leaving the score 8-6 at the break.
The beginning of the second half saw OPs take the initiative as they became increasingly hard to break down as King's tried to use their pacy backs to get through the OPs defence with little success. OP's pressure eventually forced some lax defending again by King's which led to a break away try for their strong-running outside centre. At this point it appeared as though OPs would take a commanding position in the match, despite the best efforts of Jared Russell's hard and direct running in the central channels of the pitch. Thankfully, the introduction of about 80 years’ worth and 750 combined games' experience in the form of Paul Calaminus and Mark Prior in the front row, brought some much needed simplicity to King's game, which suddenly found purpose with a no-nonsense pick and go approach gaining the King's team some much needed territory from the penalties that OPs were forced to give away when faced with the newly confident pack around the breakdown.
In Brian O-Driscoll style, Chris de Beneducci was rewarded for the early bombardment he had to suffer from the OPs centres by riding a couple of tackles to cross the line, which was followed about 10 minutes later by a converted pick and go try from Mark Prior in his first competitive game for the club since his near 2 year trans-continental camper van trip. All that was left was for King's to shut OPs out for the last few minutes which was largely done without any great drama, helped greatly by what had become a dominant pack putting huge amounts of pressure on the OP's scrum.
All-in-all an extremely satisfying win for King's against a very competent OP's side contributing to our as yet unbeaten record so far this year. Next game for the 2s is another home game vs Twickenham on 26th October.