Vikings 19 Old Priorians 14 Report from the Prosecco Sisters
Victory takes Vikings to Five Match winning run to end League Campaign
The Vikings played a solid, defensive game against Old Priorians in this last league match of the season to win by four points and to finish in fourth place, their highest position since moving into this division in 2014. A cause for celebration, even if this match didn’t quite emulate the pace and excitement of the Vikings’ previous two games.
The Vikings started well and had the bulk of possession but just couldn’t get out of their own half. Disaster struck after seven minutes when fly half Jake Duffield, injured in a try-line tackle, had to leave the field. The enforced re-structuring in the backs saw centre, James Knight, moving to number 10, fullback, Josh Brown, to 12 and replacement, Ethan Benney, at 15.
Awarded a penalty 10 metres from the Viking try line, Old Priorians opted for a scrum but the home side prevailed and regained possession. They were rewarded with a penalty and kicked for touch. Jono Lawson won the resulting lineout, linked with Chalk Hill Brewery Man of the Match, Will Hodgson, who drove for the line to score. 5 – 0 after 15 minutes.
Old Priorians replied by slotting a penalty between the posts to narrow the gap to 5 – 3. Inaccurate Viking passing gifted Old Priorians fly half, Michael Simpson, an interception from 30 metres out, setting off at pace to score between the posts. Old Priorians took the lead for the first time in the match, 5 – 10.
Injuries started to exact their toll. Acky Downing replaced Mark McCall after 30 minutes, prop Tom Browes taking on hooker duties. Jon Younie took advantage after the delayed restart and raced for the try line only to be thwarted by the opposition’s defence causing him to knock on at the crucial moment.
The rather turgid first half stuttered to a close with neither side creating opportunities. The Vikings had, nevertheless, been stalwart in defence and the ever-reliable Hodgson tackled ferociously.
The Vikings were first out of the blocks for the second half, playing with renewed vigour and purpose. Harry Downing was the first to break free, quickly linking with Acky Downing for his customary barrelling through the defence. Two Viking scrums later, Hodgson peeled off, swiftly off-loading to create a Lawson-A Downing-Tim Weber-Hodgson sequence and, finally, the trademark Lawson lunge for the try line. James Knight converted, nudging the Vikings back into the lead, 12 – 10.
Old Priorians were now pinned back by well-placed kicks and fortuitous ball bounces but the Vikings were unable to capitalise on this advantage. The ever-threatening Simpson gained possession and ran a good 45 metres, putting the Vikings on the back foot. Desperate defending five metres out prevented the opposition scoring.
Penalties continued to be traded back and forth with neither side gaining an advantage. With 20 minutes remaining, Tom Coller replaced Tom Knight and McCall returned to the fray in place of Weber.
The game’s momentum seemed to be with Old Priorians but Josh Brown opportunistically kicked the ball forward, against the run of play, and scored. James Knight added the extras, 19 – 10.
Old Priorians replied by slipping through the Vikings’ determined defence, centre, Elvin Grant, scoring an unconverted try in the Clubhouse corner, 19 – 15. A repeat manoeuvre on the other side of the posts was thwarted by a Jordan Mustard try-saving tackle. The Vikings defended valiantly for the final minutes of the game for their 19th victory of the season.
Head of Rugby, James Brooks, was pleased with the win. He said that he had wanted the Vikings to work hard on defence but perhaps with this focus on defence, their attack had suffered. He named Will Hodgson as the Chalk Hill Brewery Man of the Match, saying he carried well and was superb in defence.
Team: 15.Josh Brown 14.Jon Younie 13.Harry Downing 12.James Knight
11.Jordan Mustard 10.Jake Duffield 9.Mike Braans 1.Tom Browes
2.Mark McCall 3.Tim Weber 4.Jono Lawson 5.Ryan Oakes 6.Tom Knight
7.Ed Sampson 8.Will Hodgson
Jake Duffield/Ethan Benney (7 mins)
Mark McCall/Acky Downing (30 mins)
Tom Knight/Tom Coller (63 mins)
Tim Weber/Mark McCall (63 mins)
Tries: Will Hodgson, Jono Lawson, Josh Brown
Conversions: James Knight (2)
Referee: Phil Russell
Physio: Jocelyn Berry, Graham Illesly