Kings points help ease relegation fear

Kings Norton 15, Manor Park 10

RESURGENT Kings Norton recorded their third straight win in a row in the Midlands Division Three (West) South.

Victory means the third-from-bottom side have a healthy eight-point gap over the relegation zone.

The Hopwood-based side started well with aggressive ball carrying, strong tackling and accurate line-out throwing.

But for all their possession, the visitors managed to shut out Norton’s advances and score a converted effort of their own.

Eventually, Kings’s pressure told and Chris Hands touched five minutes before half-time, while Manor lost a man to the sin bin in the process.

Despite just 14 men and half-time looming, Manor struck back with a quickly-tapped penalty a strong run and their supporting flanker crashed over the line for a converted try to put them 12-5 ahead.

But the second-half belonged to Kings and although they rode their luck as Manor, who regularly threatened to break out from the host’s strangle hold, Norton’s territorial advantage ensured a hard-earned win.

Both sides struggled in the sticky conditions throughout and any flowing rugby was strangled by painfully slow recycling of the ball.

Midway through the half, a wind-assisted 60 metre clearance kick which crossed the touch line a whisker from the corner flag put the home side on the front foot.

Kings kept the ball at a line out and powered forward to secure Hands’ second touch down, whicn Ben Manners converted.

Despite their efforts, Manor Park couldn’t build a sequence of telling phases and each time they got into Kings half they could not trouble the home defence.

As the clock ticked down, Park forced the issue and won a series of penalties as they drove up field but on one such occasion chose the wrong option and gave the ball back to the home side.

Norton rubbed salt into the wound for this moment of haste with a late penalty which put them five points ahead as the game petered out towards the final whistle.

With so many cancellations due to the weather, Kings face many weekends of consecutive league matches with away games at Cheltenham North on Saturday and Old Wheatleyans on March 1.

Meanwhile, in Division Four West (South) Woodrush’s top of the table clash against Harbury was postponed. They go to Redditch on March 1.

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