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Kings Norton 15 - 10 Manor Park

Midlands 3 West (South)

Last Updated: Feb 16, 2014 08:21pm
Alvechurch, Bromsgrove
By Roger Adams
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One of only three Midlands 3 West South fixtures to survive a weekend of storms – this match was far from a classic.

Inspired by their last two home victories Kings Norton set about their task with confidence as they faced a first half gale and a determined Manor Park looking to consolidate their 5th place in the league.
Kings started well with aggressive ball carrying, strong tackling and accurate line out throwing, displaying early dominance at the scrum, securing their own ball and pushing Park off their own ball with an unexpected frequency in the early periods of play but slowly Manor hauled themselves into the game and the first half an hour meandered by with both sides enjoying good spells of pressure. But for all their possession, Manor managed to shut out Norton's advances with some strong rearguard action and a booming clearance from deep allowed for Manor to enjoy some brief respite.
Eventually after a procession of penalties awarded to Norton ending in a touch-finder, saw a solid line out and an organized rumble over the line allowing Chris Hands to open the scoring five minutes before half-time. Manor losing a man to the sin bin in the process. However with 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. This was swiftly followed by a last play Manor Park penalty to end the half Kings Norton 5 pts v Manor Park 12 pts..
With the wind at their backs and buoyed by their strong scrummage, the second-half belonged to Kings and although they rode their luck as Manor regularly threatened to break out from the strangle hold their territorial advantage saw them gain a hard earned victory. 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 Kings fly half Stelling punched an unbelievable wind-assisted 60 metre clearance kick which crossed the touch line a whisker from the corner flag the lineout ball was retained and the home pack rumbled over the line again for a 2nd Hands try, Ben Manners conversion  saw the home side earn a lead they would never relinquish.
Try as they might, through counter-attacking runs Manor Park couldn't build a sequence of telling phases and each time they got into Kings half, the breakdown farce would bite, slowing the ball down, killing any momentum gained. As the clock ticked down Park forced the issue and won a series of penalties as they drove upfield and were eventually awarded a kickable penalty on the 22 but such was the surge of attacking will they chose the wrong option, tapped to go & spilled the ball. 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 next weekend against Cheltenham North and at Old Wheatleyans to follow.

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