The halfway point of the season could not have been marked better than with a top of the table clash between Reigate 2XV and Kingston 2XV, with both teams undefeated this was always going to be a close and physical encounter.
The game opened ominously for Reigate, when 7 minutes in Kingston kicked over the oncoming defensive line from Reigate, the well placed kick rolled along the touchline, shepherded by the right wing to try and gain a 22-metre drop out. In a cruel twist of fate as it went over the try line Kingston pounced and touched down for the first score of the game - 0-7.
Reigate showed a lack of discipline in the early exchanges, with the referee deeming hands were in the ruck and awarded a penalty to Kingston. Fortunately for the home team the shot at goal was pushed wide, but it did give the wakeup call that was needed.
A loose kick to full back Josh saw him run through the Kingston defence before being pulled down 10 metres from the line. Reigate slowed the ball down with several pick and go’s from the back of a ruck before the ball made its way to a forward pod set up and the ball was squirrelled across the line, finished by number 2 Ben, converted by Danny Sylvester – 20 minutes played, 7-7.
The try by Reigate was a spark that saw several breaks from Centres Matt Sanford and Aidan, and wing Andy, all punching up through the middle. Unfortunately in a series of sloppy first half break downs Reigate were pinged repeatedly for infringements. A strong line out, with second-row Chas disrupting a lot of Kingston ball saw the home team kept in the game when the ball was kicked out, and the speed of the Reigate defensive line put Kingston under pressure as they attacked.
The first half ended with Kingston being penalised for holding on at the breakdown, and with the clock in the red Reigate opted for the scrum. The ball squirted out from the back of the scrum and it moved through Reigate hands from left to right, and back again. With the ball being kept alive, number 8 Scotty was able to expose a defensive hole and crashed the ball over the line to get his first score of the season. Half-time 12-7.
The second half could not have started better for the home team, or worse for the visitors, when a well-placed Reigate kick saw a defensive line out 5 metres out from the Kingston line. Reigate were quick to push up to the Kingston 10, who cleared their lines but sliced the kick, and with it touched by Reigate in flight the line-out went to the visitors. The result was much the same again, Kingston secured the ball from the line-out, surrounded by three Reigate players though, the fly-half panicked this time, and tried to pass to his centre, however the ball came off his shoulder and a grateful Scotty pounced on the spilt ball to score his second try of the day.
Reigate could not make the most the momentum built from a two score lead, and continued their frustrating day at the breakdown with tacklers being penalised for not rolling away. A scrappy encounter where both teams could not make the most of opportunities granted to them, Reigate were finally able to make inroads to the Kingston line, and with another set of pick and go’s on the try line, 2nd half substitute Gray Shaw crossed the line – his first try since returning to rugby after 15 years out.
Kingston were resilient until the end, fighting their way into the Reigate half and posing a serious threat with several line outs in the 22, however the defence stood firm and Reigate were able to make one last effort on the Kingston goal, with Andy attempting an audacious drop goal for the 10M line, out wide. The effort appeared good, however the referee was not certain, and with no TMO to refer to, he awarded another 22m drop-out to Kingston.
An enjoyable affair against strong opposition, Reigate took the 4 points at the end of the game with the final score at 22-7. With half a season to go I’m sure both teams will be looking at the others results closely.