Anchs travelled to Vigo to face former coach John Whitehead’s new side expecting stronger opposition than in recent weeks. This became clear after only 2 minutes when Anchs had dominance in a scrum just outside their own 22m line only for the Vigo scrum half to break round the blindside for a try in the corner.
Vigo continued to attack during a lively start which tested the Anchs defense. With Anchs gradually getting back into the game, the home side kicked a penalty to the corner and from the lineout, caught and drove over the line. The conversion gave Vigo an early 12 – 0 lead.
Richard Kyle was winning good lineout ball, the Anchs scrum was improved from recent weeks and Anchs backs were beginning to make inroads into the Vigo defense. A break by captain Mark Barfoot resulted in Darren Franks going over in the corner and an excellent conversion by player-coach Dominic Saunders brought Anchs back within 5 points.
Anchs backs started to look dangerous but too often players held on to the ball rather than passing to their support players and the moves broke down. However, from an attacking scrum Dave Hadris fed Jon Mann who broke blind to score in the corner to bring the scores level at 12 – 12. Anchs continued their dominance before half time and another backline move saw Tom Howlett appear on the right wing, and the prolific scorer crossed for another unconverted try, which gave Anchs a deserved 17 – 12 half time lead.
Vigo started the second half the same as they had started the first and looked dangerous on attack. An excellent covering tackle by Tom Howlett prevented a certain try and Vigo then missed a very kickable penalty. A mistake in defense led to a third Vigo try which leveled the scores at 17 – 17 and shortly after Vigo kicked a penalty to take a 17 – 20 lead.
Anchs struggled after going behind and again were guilty of losing the ball in contact when they should have been passing to players in space. Vigo were reduced to 14 men when their prop was yellow carded and Anchs took advantage with a sustained period of attack. Following a kick to the corner, Jon Mann was able to find space close to the Vigo line and crossed under the posts for a bonus point try which was duly converted.
Anchs lost Dominic Saunders to another yellow card but were able to keep Vigo out in the last 10 minutes to ensure a hard fought 24 – 20 win, which keeps Anchs in second place behind Beccehamians.
If Anchs can ensure a supply of ball for the backs and players can make better decisions in attack this win is very encouraging for a successful season ahead.
Updated 17:52 - 9 Oct 2017 by Neil Howlett