Kingston RFC’s perennial battle against the Surrey Division One drop shows no sign of being avoided this season.

Head coach Matt Hawkes’ strugglers lost a crunch game at derby rivals Old Emanuel 18-15 on Saturday.

The Hook Road outfit will turn the year second from bottom in the table and seven points adrift of third-bottom Old Emanuel.

Kingston are through to the third round of the RFU Junior Vase competition and host Hastings & Bexhill RFC on February 16.

Their Surrey Division One struggle continues when they host Old Cranleighans on January 16.

Your Local Guardian:

Pitch battle: Kingston's Ross McTear is hallted on the wing by the Old Emanuel defence in Saturday's clash

But Hawkes, who shares his coaching commitments between Kingston and London Division One South Guildford, is confident they will be fine.

"It hasn't gone as well as we had expected but anyone at the club will say we are playing a better brand of rugby than ever before," he said.

"It is a completely different style and one more suited to London One than Surrey One, so it going to take time for the plays to be comfortable with it.

Your Local Guardian:

Riding high: Old Emanuel enjoyed plenty of success at the line-out, but it was the Kingston forwards who scored with a driving maul

"We have lost one or two games by the odd point and we are still in the Junior Vase, which is excellent.

"We will be fine. It is a funny league and traditionally the club is stronger in the second half of the season thant the first.

Your Local Guardian:

Fleet of foot: Centre Cameron Dombkins was a threat all day for Old Emanuel

Your Local Guardian:

Hard to handle: Kingston found it difficult to stop Old Emanuel centre Cameron Dombkins

"We are developing better players and sometimes that is a bigger win than your league position shows and we will reap the benefits."

Meanwhile, Old Emanuel - who avenged a 16-8 defeat to Kingston earlier in the season - head to Law Society next in the league on January 16.

Your Local Guardian:

Pivotal role: Old Emanuel lock Carl Kavanagh played a crucial hand in Joseph Locke's try