Kempston clinch the title with gutsy win

The Kempston players celebrate their title win
The Kempston players celebrate their title win

Kempston RFC battled back from behind to beat second placed Stewarts and Lloyds III 19-10 as they clinched the East Midlands Estrella Damm Merit League title.

Kempston started with a bang, stealing the ball from the kick-off and giving Alistair McMullen the chance to swan dive over the line under the posts. Rob Campbell added the extras for a 7-0 lead.

Soon afterwards, Kempston were forced into making a change as Tom Jackson limped off after twisting his ankle.

What followed was the biggest test of the season so far for Kempston as S&L pounded the away side’s line.

It took 20 minutes for the home side to eventually touch down, but they failed to make the conversion and still trailed 7-5.

More pressure from S&L finally told, with some smart running off the back of rucks leading to try closer to the posts which gave them a 10-7 lead going in at half-time.

The second half started with more pressure from the home side, but it took 20 minutes for more points to come.

A tackle and turnover from prop Elliot Fairhead gave Kempston possession, before Ollie Peters was put through to stretch the defence and romp across the line from nearly 50 metres. Campbell slotted the conversion, putting Kemspton back in the lead at 14-10.

S&L were still confident they could take the points and were looking to run from everywhere.

However, this proved to be their downfall when Kempston won the ball back and created an overlap. Campbell and Gareth Arzu combined to get the ball to Ross McMullen who beat the last man with a cheeky step inside. Campbell pushed the conversion inches wide as the score remained 19-10 to Kempston.

Kempston were on the back foot for the remainder of the match and what looked like a certain try for S&L was pulled back as the referee couldn’t see the grounding.

That was the last action of note and, when the final whistle blew, Kempston were able to celebrate their title win.