Kings Norton 41 Coventry Welsh 29
Midlands Four West (South)
KINGS NORTON and Coventry Welsh served up an 11-try thriller in front of an appreciative crowd swelled by a record contingent of attendees at club president Mark Pearson’s end of season pre-match luncheon and former players who had assembled for a Scott James memorial match.
Saturday’s victory means Kings, who for long spells this season have been too close to the bottom two for comfort, have finished as high as fifth and above local rivals Redditch and Alcester.
Welsh were always playing catch up to Kings’ domination of the set pieces as the hosts’ strong defence stifled the visitors’ rare attacks.
The home side’s early three-try spree gave them the cushion needed to play some adventurous rugby. Wing Mike Smallen scored first after five minutes when his speed took him through to cross the line before captain Shane Rees converted accurately against the wind.
Then, as Kings continued to dominate, Rob McGhee foraging out wide gathered a loose ball to crash over between the posts and Rees again added the extras.
Welsh were finding it hard to gain any foothold and from one clearance kick Chris Minot gathered deep and raced back down the wing.
A lone tackler disrupted his run just enough for the winger to pull a hamstring on his way but he still managed to hobble over for an unconverted try before leaving the field.
Welsh began to pull themselves into the game and, when Ben Boyce was yellow-carded for an illegal tackle, the Coventry side made the advantage count by scoring two quickfire unconverted tries.
Kings came back strongly and Rees slotted over a penalty for offside before Alex Styliano raced through for a converted try to gain the bonus point and close the first half with Kings 29-10 up.
Kings opened the second period with more of the same as the rampant McGhee scored his second try four minutes into the half, although Rees narrowly missed the conversion.
Welsh then came to life with two well taken converted tries and began to look dangerously close to their hosts’ score.
However, this was a shortlived concern as the home side regained their composure and a spell of powerful forward play consisting of six phases was finished off when veteran number eight Mark Waudby followed up a kick through to touch down close to the dead-ball line and Rees confidently converted to end the home side’s scoring.
Welsh were determined not to be outdone in the try stakes and completed this end of league programme try-romp with another score.