It’s now 33 successful kicks at goal in the Greene King IPA Championship for Gordon Ross since his last miss – the London Welsh stand-off 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.
It’s been a rich run of form for the former Scotland No 10, 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 win over Bedford on 14 September.
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 wins over Nottingham, Plymouth Albion, Rotherham Titans and the 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,” said Ross. “I do speak to my wingers and tell them that, if they score under the posts, they’ll get rewarded.
“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 so they built up over two seasons.”
His only miss since embarking on his impressive run came in the Exiles’ B&I Cup defeat at Pontypridd when the stand-off was 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.
“Tom’s obviously very experienced and he brings a huge amount of enthusiasm to training every day,” said Ross.
“Sonny had a wee crack at being in the back row, 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 progressing 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 [head coach]Justin [Burnell] and, hopefully, the boys have learned 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 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.”
On Sunday, Ross and London Welsh head to his former stomping ground, Headingley Carnegie, as they look to make it six wins from six.
The last time the Exiles visited Headingley was on the opening day 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.
“They [Headingley] play an excellent brand of rugby, they’re moving the ball very well and they’ve got a very high skill level,” said Ross.
“It’s going to be a massive challenge for us to go up there – I know how tough a place Headingley is to get a win – but, hopefully, we can make it six from six.”