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1st XV - Match centre

Kidderminster
Stourbridge Lions
Sat 1 Apr 15:00 - Midlands Division - Midlands 2 West (North) Full time

KCRFC v Stourbridge Lions (H) - Saturday 1st April

KC’s 18 Stourbridge Lions 20

Having been the first team to inflict a league defeat on title chasing Stourbridge back in December and having also knocked them out of the North Mids Shield,both away from home,KC’s knew they would face a highly motivated Lions side looking for revenge at Marlpool Lane, particularly as the visitors had last week lost top spot in Mids 2 West (N) after heading the table for several months,but Kidder were up for the challenge and again proved a hard nut to crack before eventually succumbing by just two points.
After the opening ten minutes of the match had been played mainly in the area between the two 22’s,with Stourbridge having a slight territorial advantage,the first opportunity fell to KC’s with a penalty kick at goal from thirty metres but the chance was not taken and they were soon made to pay when,with fifteen minutes played and following a Lions scrum on halfway,the visitors burst through the hosts midfield defence to win a close range penalty which flyhalf Ben Trinham duly despatched and four minutes later the No 10 again made no mistake with his second effort,this time from KC’s ten metre line.
Three minutes later Kidder flyhalf Rhys Pritchard halved the deficit with a penalty kicked from fifteen metres in from the right touchline and then fullback Freddie Morgan made a confident run out from the back before being tackled on the ten metre line where KC’s won a penalty at the ruck and they were now getting into their stride.However,there was then a period of play when there was little to choose between the sides.Stour almost broke through again in midfield but ten minutes from the interval Kidder kicked a penalty to the left touch thirty metres out and after securing the throw a smart finish at the right corner by winger Arthur Morgan rounded off some slick handling in the backs to edge the home side ahead 8-6.
From the restart KC’s put together some coherent phases and although they frustratingly lost two lineouts on their own throw a strong run by centre George Morgan saw them surge into the visitors 22 but they were penalised at the ruck and then marched back ten metres for some backchat,enabling Stourbridge to clear to halfway and the interval arrived with no further scoring and with all to play for in the second half for both sides.
Only two minutes into the second period some more verbal indiscipline by Kidder again cost them a penalty which Stour kicked to the hosts ten metre line and from the resulting possession they attacked down the right and despite the suspicion of a forward pass their No 14 Will Fallows was put in the clear to score the Lions first try which Trinham converted to put them back in the lead,13-8.
KC’s responded with a powerful run by No 8 Jess Smith from a scrum on halfway and then a penalty for crossing which was kicked to touch.Progress from the lineout was ended as they failed to release when tackled and Stour cleared to touch but Mike Protheroe stole the visitors throw and after recycling the ball well and quickly running a penalty the visitors were penalised again on their 22 and Pritchard knocked over the kick to reduce the deficit to two points at 13-11.
Kidder’s tails were up and replacement centre Tom Maher together with his partner George Morgan were beginning to punch some holes but midway through the half a breakaway try completely out of nothing by Stour centre Elliot Hopkin ,converted by Trinham,swung the game decisively in the Lions favour.
Requiring two scores,KC’s were badly in need of a quick reply but try as they might they just could not make another breakthrough until with a little under ten minutes to play the cards fell their way.A long kick into their in goal area by Stour fullback Owen Williams forced KC’s to take a 22 drop out and when George Morgan attempted to tap the ball to himself he appeared to knock on - the visitors certainly thought so but centre Cas Brooks protested too vociferously and was sent off by the referee,presumably for abusive language,leaving them to play out the match with fourteen men and Kidder took immediate advantage.A mazy run by Arthur Morgan from his own 22 was taken on by Maher and his pass to George Morgan sent the centre racing up the middle of the pitch.He was almost caught on the five metre line but despite nearly having his shorts ripped off his strength took him over the line under the posts for the try of the afternoon and Pritchard converted to again bring the home side to within two points.
With only five minutes remaining Stourbridge sensibly kicked the restart very deep,leaving KC’s to try and run the ball out of their 22 in their desperation to get within range of the visitors posts but they were penned in and in the end had to kick and concede lineout possession which the Lions used to run down the clock with a series of pick and go’s to see out the game.
This President’s Day local derby had been much anticipated and did not disappoint.The result was probably just about right as KC’s did not quite do enough to win but both sets of supporters agreed that they were certainly fully deserving of their losing bonus point.
Next week KC’s travel to Tamworth for their last away league fixture of the season - KO 3.00 pm.

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League table

# Team Pl Pts
1. Stourbridge Lions 22 92
2. Camp Hill 22 90
3. Leek 22 84
4. Walsall 22 73
5. Tamworth 22 62
6. Kidderminster 22 54
7. Veseyans 22 42

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