It’s now 33 successful kicks at goal in the Greene King IPA Championship for Gordon Ross since his last miss – the London Welsh fly half and assistant coach stretching his run with a 16-point haul against the Cornish Pirates to take his points tally for the season to 86.
A rich vein of form for the former Scotland number ten, but it’s a far cry from Welsh’s opening game of the league season when he missed four of his first five attempts in the Exiles’ win over Bedford on September 14.
He rediscovered his radar in time, however, to land his last two attempts against the Blues and since then hasn’t missed a kick in the wins over Nottingham, Plymouth Albion, Rotherham Titans and Cornish Pirates – 17 penalties and 16 conversions in all.
“It’s going alright; I was very lucky at the weekend, just about all of them were in front of the posts. I do speak to my wingers and tell them that if they score under the posts they’ll get rewarded,” said Ross.
“Obviously I continue to put the work in during the week to make sure I’m mentally and physically prepared. Hopefully these storms which are forecast stay away and I can continue the run if I’m kicking this weekend.
“I few years ago, I think it was my first season at Leeds, I got 29 in a row in the league, but I was a bit-part kicker, I wasn’t the main kicker, so they built up over two seasons.
“I’m very fortune that I’ve got a decent set of forwards that keep winning us penalties, but I can’t give them all the credit can I, so I’ve really got to give myself a big pat on the back!”
His only miss since embarking on his impressive run came in the Exiles’ B&I Cup defeat at Pontypridd - the fly half off target with his conversion attempt from close to the touchline at Sardis Road following Sonny Parker’s try.
“Sadly down at Pontypridd it was only sunny for about 30 seconds and it was during that time that I missed, so I’m blaming the elements for that one,” said Ross.
Tom May’s return to the side for last weekend’s 41-6 victory over Cornish Pirates at the Kassam Stadium, saw Ross form part of a very experienced trio in the Welsh backs, alongside May and Parker. A line up head coach Justin Burnell labelled as Dad’s Army.
“It’s a bit harsh; it’s the academy system at London Welsh – it’s working a treat,” said Ross.
“Tom’s obviously very experienced and he brings a huge amount enthusiasm to training every day. Sonny had a wee crack at being in the back row – I think it was a mid-life crisis - but now he’s back where he rightly belongs in the centre.
“It worked well at the weekend but the good thing is that all three of us want to improve and make sure the team improves.”
That goes for Ross especially in his new role this season as assistant coach, and so far it’s going well.
“When I’m coaching during the week and looking after the backs or skills sessions the boys are very respectful, but I know come the team run on a Friday and the game, I’m a player,” said Ross.
“It’s been tough the last few months but very enjoyable. I’ve learnt a lot from Justin, which has been great, and hopefully the boys have learnt a couple of things from me in terms of moving the team forward and as individuals as well.
“It’s certainly a different workload to when I was just a player. I like the early morning starts, but some of the late finishes aren’t up my street. My Countdown skills are long gone.
“I still speak to the players before a game as backs coach, but come an hour before kick-off, when I go out to start my warm up, that’s when I switch off and try and make sure I’m mentally prepared for the game.
“Game day is probably the toughest, making sure you speak to each individual, they know what their job is and they know what we’re trying to achieve at 3pm that day. But I’ve got to make sure I get the balance right and I’m doing my job on the pitch as well.”
Sunday sees Ross and London Welsh head to his former stomping ground, Headingley Carnegie, as they look to make it six wins from six and maintain their position at the top of the Championship table.
The last time the Exiles visited Headingley was on the opening weekend of the club’s Championship winning season. They came away with a 26-13 win that day and Ross would gladly take the same on Sunday.
“First half we played some outstanding stuff. We faded maybe in the last 20 minutes but it was a really good win and a good start to the season. If we get anything like that at the weekend we’ll be delighted,” he said.
“Leeds are on a very good run, they’ve won four out of five, and the game they lost to Nottingham, how they lost that I’ll never know.
“They play an excellent brand of rugby, they’re moving the ball very well, and they’ve got a very high skill level. It’s going to be a massive challenge for us to go up there – I know how tough a place Headingley it is to get a win - but hopefully we can make it six from six.
“To do that, however, we’re probably going to have to produce our best performance of the season.”