Kingston’s rugby firsts lose season opener

Kingston University’s rugby first team lost their season opener against Roehampton on Wednesday.

Marc Williams

Early season jitters and ring-rust left Kingston’s first team rugby boys to suffer a damaging 39-13 defeat at the hands of local rivals Roehampton University.

In the first game of the season, two tries from Roehampton winger Toby Williams helped his side claim the points and raised questions about the future performance of Kingston for the season ahead.

Kingston captain David Holby said: “We are very disappointed we didn’t get the win today but I am sure we can come back a stronger team after this. We will go back to training, put in those hard yards and, hopefully, next week we’ll get the win.”

From kick-off, Roehampton piled on the pressure and within two minutes a Matt Davies’ penalty put the visitors 3-0 up.

Before Kingston could draw breath from the early set back, a darting run and off-load from Dan Farr gave Williams the opening to score his first of the game.

With the home side 10 points down before the 10th minute, tension and frustration began to creep into their game. Partly due to some questionable decisions from the referee but mostly because of sloppy ball-handling and frequent turnovers.

“The aggression in the team is good but I’m disappointed with the tackle count, it could have been a lot higher. It’s about wins at the end of the day and we should be heading towards promotion,” Holby said after the match.

A twenty minute spell of sustained pressure gave Kingston a path back into the match. Craig Felston dispatched a timely penalty and added a second soon after following a dangerously high tackle on Holby.

Hoping to hold on till half-time and after a string of line-out turnovers, Roehampton capitalized on Kingston’s nerves. After a confident line-out, the away side’s backs worked the ball neatly along the line leaving a four-on-one try opportunity.

Despite failing to convert this great chance, Roehampton regained possession straight away and Davies bundled over his team’s second try of the half.

An even start to the second half saw the two teams share possession and chances until flanker, Dougie Herbet, powered through to finish off a neat move, to stretch the away side’s lead to 22-6.

Roehampton player Tom Warner said; “I was really impressed with the team today. Kingston is always a tough game with a lot of rivalry between the sides. I just hope we can carry this on throughout the season and with this current form we can push the top of the league.”

The highlight of the match came on the hour mark. After more sustained pressure and some nice play from Kingston, one wayward pass, a characteristic of the game, left Toby Williams with the entire field to himself to run home a 70 yard try, his second and Roehampton’s fourth of the contest.

Jake Stinson provided a bright spark for the home side. The winger was a constant threat throughout the game and was rewarded with a penalty try following a high tackle. Other highlights included a solid scrum.

Kingston coach Arran Cruikshanks said: “We can definitely improve on this, it’s not panic stations yet. We have a lot of new boys who made their first starts today and it’s a big step up for the boys who were in the seconds last year. It’s a reality check but we will bounce back.”

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