King’s Cups Runneth Over
By Tom Moore
After a long season King’s raise themselves for a final fling as they overcome a spirited Old Rutlishians to win the Surrey Rugby President’s Barrel.
A week on from securing the league table-toppers / play-off winners double with a 17-15 victory over Battersea Ironsides, King’s had to draw on the full depth of their squad (not helped by Bank Holiday weekend absentees) as they faced Old Ruts in the last 15-a-side game of 2018-19. Ultimately 19 players made themselves available and at 3.30pm with Laurence Cook the man in charge, the last 70mins of the season was beckoned to begin.
It was a lively start from both sides and especially encouraging for King’s as they soon began to find gaps in the Ruts’ line and duly secured a territorial advantage. Ruts’ defence was stubborn though and all they gave up was a penalty or two. Ultimately King’s had a pop at goal but the kick missed. The boys from Motspur Park were not to be denied though and a telling break from Sam Hill saw him feed Tom Smith, the winger angling a run to the line. Neil Williams added two more; 0-7.
The sloping pitch made things interesting for both sides, with running angles and judging some unusual bounces presenting difficulties for the teams. Ruts looked to get their big lads on the ball, but King’s showed plenty of appetite for the tackle with Ed Reid and Brook Wannop both easily getting into double figures on the day. King’s were having a hard time at the scrum as they gave away many (many) kilos to their more generously proportioned opposition, but they were more mobile and it was a bit of quick thinking from Barry Williams who tapped a penalty close to the Ruts’ line which saw King’s stretch their lead with the extras from Neil Williams; 0-14. The frustration spilled over momentarily for one of the Ruts’ props soon after, his punishment a trip to the cooler to reflect with his thoughts.
With the half now winding down Ruts were unlucky to lose a lock to injury and it seemed like perhaps the drama was over. However, with the referee almost ready to call for oranges it was that man Barry Williams who had the final say as he found space to sneak though under the posts for a converted try to put King’s in the box seat.
The second half started a much more even affair with Ruts adding more variety to their game, their right winger causing problems on more than one occasion with some clever angled runs. Centres Ben Lazarevic and Jake Upward were busy in defence and attack but the teams’ endeavours were more or less cancelling one another out. Eventually after battering King’s in midfield to no avail, the ball was kicked to Sam Hill which was to prove a fatal error as the fullback set off on a mazy run from right to left, eventually giving a scoring pass to Ed Reid who did the honours from 5m out; 0-26.
King’s made use of the bench at this point with Pete Januszewski, Andy Cooke and U21 player Rob Thomas all joining the fray by instalments for Lorcan O’Duffy, Neil Williams and Brook Wannop respectively. Neil Williams had thought his work was done for the day, but an injury to winger Lloyd Allen saw the scrum-half back on and when the window came ajar close to the line he didn’t wait to be asked twice and with the conversion added his personal tally swelled to 13; 0-33. King’s last sub was made as Jack Griffin bowed out, Tom Moore taking his place.
There was plainly no doubt who was going to finish as winners of the game and Ruts’ could very well have let their heads drop, but they did anything but and some powerful scrummaging saw them create an opportunity for a centre to slip though for a try which was improved; 7-33. Stung by the concession of a first score King’s hit almost straight back as Sam Hill, who enjoyed a fine match, scored the try his performance deserved; 7-38. The last say was to go to the runners-up on the day as from a series of re-set scrums the Ruts’ No.8 was eventually adjudged to have squirmed his way to the whitewash with his kicker making no mistake; 14-38.
On an afternoon when warm sunshine was punctuated by rain and hail it was a credit to the teams that the game was as entertaining as it proved to be – our thanks to Ruts for more than playing their part. One of Ruts relentlessly effective props was awarded MOM by King’s, with the award the other way going to double try scorer Barry Williams.
So that really is that. The season is over and King’s have done ‘the quad’ with a league title for the 1XV, two league wins and a cup for the 2XV. Put differently, King’s two Senior sides have won every competition they’ve entered this season. What more can you ask?!
Tries: Tom Smith, Barry Williams x 2, Ed Reid, Neil Williams, Sam Hill
Conversions: Neil Williams x 4