King’s became the first side to secure three consecutive Modus Cup victories as they saw off a spirited RGS side to emerge 15-5 victors.
In an encounter that was played under the Sixways floodlights, King’s were on the back foot for much of the first half but led at half time courtesy of a try from fly half Alfie Pritchard.
King’s, playing in their traditional blue and white, spent long spells of the second half playing with 14 men, losing both winger Matt Tolley and replacement prop Will Revill to the sin bin.
However, tries from winger Sam Lowe and centre Dion King put the defending champions 15-0 up before RGS replacement flanker George Cook touched down after 60 minutes to hand RGS a lifeline.
Playing in front of a crowd of over 3,500, neither team showed signs of nerves on the brand new artificial pitch that Sixways now boasts. King’s started the brighter of the sides, and fine line breaks first from Lowe and then from captain James Smalley set up Pritchard for a simple try in the corner after 10 minutes. Pritchard’s conversion attempt from the touchline was sweetly struck but sailed narrowly wide to leave the score at 5-0.
RGS, in white and green, dominated both territory and possession for the remainder of the first half. Full-back Sam Hughes missed two tough chances from the tee, and the half ended with RGS camped on the King’s 5 metre line for what seemed like an eternity.
When Tolley was sent to the sin bin for coming in at the side, RGS found themselves with a man advantage. They seemed to have capitalised when Max Hammond dived over in the corner, but the referee pulled play back for a forward pass.
Still RGS pressed, and it took excellent line speed and crucial turnovers from a well-drilled King’s outfit to ensure they carried their lead into half time.
The boys in blue started the second half with purpose, securing good ball from a lineout and almost breaking clear. Matt Tolley returned from the sin bin and made an immediate impact, threading a clever grubber kick through that put RGS full-back Hughes under great pressure.
King’s continued to turn the screw, and they doubled their lead in the 45th minute. With the RGS defence scrambling, the ball was shipped wide before clever handling from Smalley created space for Lowe to skip over for their second try. Again, the conversion from Pritchard was narrowly missed.
Then, three minutes later, Dion King scored his third Modus Cup try to put King’s within touching distance of a third successive Modus Cup victory. Pritchard missed from the tee, but King’s led 15-0 with 20 minutes remaining.
However, RGS refused to lie down and began to up the tempo of their running game. Strong carries from Number 8 Oli Heeks and outside centre Rob Aikman drove them into good field position, and they looked certain to score until the ball was knocked forward with the try line begging.
RGS finally got on the scoreboard on the hour mark. King’s Number 8 Owien Harriott-Davis, who had an excellent night otherwise, spilled the ball in the middle of the field. Replacement flanker Cook scooped the ball up gratefully and, showing an impressive turn of pace, out-sprinted the King’s defence to dive over. The straightforward conversion attempt was missed by fly-half Alex Wheeler, leaving RGS trailing by 10 with 10 minutes to play.
Roared on by their loyal Green Army, Grammar continued to probe but – despite a yellow card for King’s prop Will Revill – they could not add to their try and King’s closed out the game for a memorable Modus Cup victory for all in blue and white.
King’s backs coach Chris Atkinson: “Although it was great to get the third win in a row, we feel like we left a little bit out there. It’s a bit frustrating because, although we got the win, we were on the edge of being able to break out a little bit more. It just didn’t quite happen for us.
“I thought our defence was pretty good, but we just coughed up the ball at important times. It’s something we’ll go away and work on.
“We’ve lost a couple of tight games this year that could have gone our way, but hopefully we’ll build on this win and enjoy a strong end to the season.”
Full Time: King’s Worcester 15-5 RGS Worcester
By Jonathan Wilson