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Ben McKeith boots Westcliff Rugby Club to victory as Staines crumble
BEN McKeith booted Westcliff to victory against Staines on Saturday and put himself top of the country’s kicking charts in the process.
The 28-year-old fly half landed a last gasp penalty to secure his side a 22-20 triumph. And, in doing so, he became England’s most prolific kicker.
“First and foremost it was great to get the win and to then find out I’d gone top of the kickers list was a real surprise,” said McKeith.
“I was shocked when I found out I was top of the list for our division let alone the country so it was great to see. I do keep statistics on my kicking and I knew things were going well.
“But I just didn’t know how well until I came across that online.”
After his heroics at the weekend, McKeith has now scored 17 penalties and 16 conversions for a total of 83 points in six matches.
However, his reign at the top lasted 24 hours as he has since been overtaken by Newcastle Falcons’ Jimmy Gopperth.
“I knew I wouldn’t be top for long but it’s great to be up there and hopefully I can stay with the top few,” said McKeith.
“Getting results matters most for the team though and that’s why I was pleased the penalty helped us win on Saturday.
“There was only a few minutes to go when it was given and everyone assumed I would be nervous. But the truth was I was actually quite relieved as I was waiting for a drop goal at the time and I think I’ve only ever scored 20 per cent of my attempts throughout my career.”
Westcliff had earlier seemed to cruising towards a second successive win though when two penalties from McKeith put them 6-0 up. Staines replied with a penalty of their own before McKeith teed up Seb Reynolds who glided in under the posts.
McKeith added the extras and then kicked another penalty to put Westcliff 16-3 up at the break.
Staines, who have yet to win this season, hit back at the start of the second half with an unconverted try but the home-side replied with another penalty from McKeith.
Staines soon hit back and, playing with an extra man after a Westcliff yellow card, they scored two tries, one of which was converted, to put them a point ahead going in to the closing stages.
But they were unable to hold on as three minutes in to stoppage time Westcliff were awarded a penalty which McKeith cooly kicked to send Westcliff up to eighth in the National Three London & SE table.