Pictures by Mike Baker
Midlands 2 West (South)
Rugby St Andrews 30 Kidderminster 51
Saints welcomed league leaders Kidderminster and despite putting in a good performance in front of their Vice Presidents and Sponsors ended the day with nothing to show for their efforts.
Saints started brightly and worked through the phases before drawing a penalty which was kicked by Will Morgan after two minutes to give Saints the lead. This lasted less than two minutes though as Kidderminster recycled possession quickly and moved the ball well with strong running causing the defence problems to cross for the first try of the afternoon. This was quickly followed by a second unconverted try as Kidderminster showed why they are top of the league at this early stage in the season.
Saints did manage to stem the tide and worked well in possession, being patient and keeping hold of the ball well, they built pressure and were rewarded with second penalty from the boot of Ryan Taylor after 12 minutes to reduce the deficit. Kidderminster responded with a converted try before Saints crossed the line for the first time after 28 minutes with Dan Hull claiming the tr,y converted by Will Morgan who added a second penalty five minutes later to bring Saints back to within a point. Kidderminster though still had time to cross for their fourth try before half time to claim a bonus point and take a 22-16 lead into the break.
This was quickly extended within 90 seconds of the restart as the Saints defence was split open with a strong direct run from the Kidderminster centre. Saints began to build momentum and recycled the ball well keeping Kidderminster under pressure and forcing them to concede penalties in their own 22. Several kickable penalties were turned down as Saints opted to kick to the corner, but their efforts were thwarted. The referee finally lost patience with the visitors, who seemed to give away a penalty every time Saints ventured towards their line and issued a yellow card. Rather than hamper Kidderminster this seemed to galvanize them as they again repelled Saints' attacks and then broke free to score a try of their own which was followed quickly by another to give them a commanding lead.
Saints hit back, the pack secured good line out possession and drove Dan Hull over for a try, converted by Will Morgan with ten minutes remaining. Another strong run through the midfield from the visitors was rewarded with another converted try but again Saints hit back and camped on the Kidderminster line. Another line out drive resulted in a third try for Saints again converted by Will Morgan. With just a couple of minutes remaining Saints pushed for a fourth try and a bonus point, but poor discipline allowed Kidderminster to work up field and with six minutes injury time being played crossed for a final try.
Saints ball retention was good, but they will need to recycle possession quicker and vary their attacking options at this level, they will also need to work on their defence ahead of a trip to Leamington this weekend in search of their first points of the season.