By Andrew Murphy
Kingston men’s 1st XV cemented their place at the top of South Eastern League 3A with a convincing win over Roehampton.
Confidence was high in both camps before kick-off, each looking to end the other’s unbeaten run, but it was the away side who started most brightly, John Brooker running over to score Kingston’s opening try.
Roehampton were put under consistent pressure afterwards, and were forced into some shaky defensive kicking as Kingston mounted their numerous attacks.
However, it was from one of those kicks that the home side scored their first points of the afternoon. Hesitation at the back allowed Roehampton territory, from which they capitalised with an opening penalty.
Though Roehampton grew following their appearance on the scoreboard, it was Kingston who would extend their lead with another try, Laurence Stephan finishing this time with play spread nicely in a flowing KU move.
The travelling side finished the scoring for the half shortly after. John Brooker still had it all to do after a clever kick gave him space to run into, and when a grubber kick of his own took the ball over the try-line, he showed great pace to pounce on the ball and give Kingston a commanding 19-3 lead at half time.
KU have shown some impressive attacking displays in their opening games of this campaign, but their resilience at the back was to be tested before the break. Ten minutes of consistent Roehampton pressure had all of the Kingston XV with their backs against the wall, but the pack worked in unison, and some strong tackles ensured a healthy half time lead.
Evidently frustrated by their try-less first period, Roehampton continued how they left off after the break, and were eventually rewarded with a dubious penalty try. Strong protests from KU did little for their cause and their advantage was reduced to just nine points.
The league leaders had work to do in order to protect their perfect start to the season, and set about their task with some immediate pressure.
Some quickly taken penalties and good distribution led to another breach of the Roehampton try-line, but it was all too quick for the referee who brought play back and urged Kingston to slow down. Nonetheless, the scoreboard was kept ticking over with another KU penalty which put daylight between the sides.
Last ditch defending
Tempers began to fray within Roehampton ranks as time started to run out for the home side, and the scoring was finished for the afternoon by Alastair Denzel Polis who smashed his way through some last ditch defending and added a shine to a positive KU scoreline.
Coach Arran Cruikshanks was jubilant following the win, but is adamant that Kingston’s dominance in this league is not just down to playing weaker opposition this term.
“It’s more than dropping a league. The boys are really responding and we’ve got to aim high,” said Cruikshanks.
“The confidence is growing, there’s a great structure and everyone is really buying into the team spirit. There’s much more to come from this side.”