Sat 12
Rosslyn Park Nomads
Park Plunder The King's Castle

Park Plunder The King's Castle

By Tom Moore
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Despite their best efforts King's are thwarted by bad luck and the direct style of the men from the Rock.

So it was that in the last game of the 2013-14 season rather than the scheduled visit to Teddington the home team instead found themselves hosting a friendly with a Rosslyn Park Nomads side whose name has appeared in King's September fixture list both this season and last but on each occasion the men from Roehampton have not managed the short trip to KT3. With their sat-navs seemingly now fully functioning lightening was not to strike for a third time.

From the start it was evident Nomads were in no mood to make up the numbers at a King's end of season promotion party as they were quick to get the ball into the hands of their go-to battering rams whilst their tight five scrummaged with great effect. King's more or less repelled their visitors' early incursions but Nomads were nothing if not persistent and, despite a knock-on missed by an unsighted referee, were eventually across the whitewash as their winger squeezed in out wide to open the scoring. With the conversion slewing nearer the corner flag than the posts their lead was slight; 0-5. Back came King's and they were soon rewarded with a penalty bang in front but a full 45m out. Undeterred up stepped Jack Smith to chip over and narrow gap; 3-5.

Nomads rallied and, having found their way into the much talked about 'red zone', King's first offence of the phase yielded a penalty. To say judicial goodwill was in short supply would be wrong as it was in no supply at all and the whistler saw fit to march under the posts for a penalty try. Nomads couldn't believe their luck and a conversion followed to extend their lead; 3-12. With the tide at scrum time slowly turning and the clock nearing forty, King's worked Nomads left and right in the quest for a morale boosting score to take with them into the break. Without any gaps to exploit they instead took a more direct route with a chip over the top which was apparently splattered down in a blur of limbs by debutante Ben Rees under the poles. Despite Nomads' protests the try was given and King's added the extras.

HT: 10-12

The second half started as a cagey affair but Nomads sensed an urgency which King's did not and proceeded to score two converted tries, the first though their omnipresent blindside's midfield break and the second from a lineout drive, to stretch their lead; 10-26. It was increasingly clear that Nomads' strength lay in their 8 to 12 channel and for King's the challenge was how to get the ball wide of it. Just as it looked as if that may be a puzzle they weren't going to solve James Standen and Tom Smith between them had a Eureka moment and the latter found himself running into fresh air to record King's second try; 15-26. Having cracked the code King's went for a repeat and very nearly managed it except this time having broken the gain line the pass from 10 to 12 went to ground and as it was fly-hacked forward by Andy Cooke the man in green stunned all concerned by calling the play back for a knock-on.

King's pressed again and came close as another ranging kick saw the visitor's winger retreating to field a ball on his own 5m line. As King's swarmed around him he clung on to it like a precious jewel before the referee blew up and awarded not a penalty but a scrum having first adjudged the ball carried over then, realising his error, preferring to give Nomads the put in. With that went any lingering hopes of a King's renaissance and sure enough soon after fate dealt them another cruel blow when whilst trying to play from deep in their own 22 an attempted interception was knocked forward by the Nomads' fly-half who regathered and offloaded to his outside centre who sauntered over, both laughing and awaiting a shrill blast to bring them back for the scrum. It never came. The conversion followed; 15-33. As in the first period it was King's who closed out the scoring as James Collins, another on debut, crossed in what was to be the final play.

FT: 20-33

Take nothing away from Nomads who, aside from one uncharacteristic lapse of judgement manifested in a kick to the head of a prone King's player, were on the balance of play deserved winners on the day. Given they ply their trade in the Middlesex reserve leagues it's uncertain when we shall see them again but they were a decent bunch and we wish them well for next year.

For King's today marked the culmination of another winning campaign with 12 league victories (including a commendable 'double' against league runners up Twickenham) set against 6 losses (2 to champions Esher) saw them finish 5th in the league a mere 5 points adrift of top spot.

Player of season went to Tom Smith who has not only played well all year, but has trained regularly and contributed to club life with enthusiasm and even dragged some of his Bristol Uni mates down too.

With the first team back up to Level 7 of the pyramid the challenge for next year's Twos is to start putting serious pressure on those in possession of shirts in the senior team and of course to keep playing good, winning, rugby.

Tries: T Smith, J Collins, B Rees

Conversions: J Smith

Pens: J Smith

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Match details

Match date

Sat 12, Apr 2014