Vikings 14 Old Priorians 17 Report from Paul Morse
No complaints as Vikings succumb to Old Priorians.
For the fifth placed Vikings a home defeat against opponents with one previous away victory was not in the script, but they could have no complaints following a laboured performance in which they rarely achieved consistent momentum. Priorians deserved their victory; arriving at Scottow on the back of improving results in November, what they lacked in creativity they compensated for with outstanding defence and good execution of the basics. 17 -7 down after fifty minutes the Vikings never thereafter really looked like winning, only getting to within touching distance with five minutes left.
It was clear from the opening ten minutes a high scoring match was unlikely with play restricted to the middle thirty metres. As throughout much of the game defences were on top, both sides struggled to get across the gain line and space was very limited. Gradually they began to explore other areas of the pitch but handling errors were hampering the Vikings and, when they got an attacking five metre lineout, they lost on their own throw. Priorians ball retention was better and when they got a scoring opportunity in the twentieth minute they took it, Simon March spotting a blind side gap and racing over from forty metres; Ross McIntosh converting.
Their lead lasted barely five minutes, the Vikings producing a textbook try. Jake Duffield's long penalty kick gave them a five metre lineout which they won and, after a patient build up, Hal Riley powered over from a well timed angled run, Lee Thomson converting.
Perversely this score seemed to give confidence to the visitors who attacked for much of the rest of the half as the home side continued making basic errors. McIntosh missed a penalty from halfway and the defence was badly exposed before Harry Downing made a great try saving tackle. On the stroke of half time the Vikings briefly upped the pace and looked dangerous, but the move was ended by a needless penalty and the break came with them fortunate to be level.
Three minutes into the second half Priorians went ahead. The Vikings conceded a penalty in a dangerous position, Priorians won their five metre lineout, the drive was repulsed but a missed tackle gave Jake Dever the opportunity to score; McIntosh converted. He then extended their lead with a forty five metre penalty, and despite there being thirty minutes left it looked a long way back for the Vikings.
With James Knight in the vanguard they began to go forward but they were unconvincing, never building consistent pressure; key lineouts were lost, handling mistakes made, recyling was slow and to make matters worse Acky Downing was yellow carded for a scrummaging offence. Priorians scored in the corner but Dan Smith did well to cover.
Back to full strength the Vikings spent the last fifteen minutes mainly attacking but Priorians soaked up the pressure until with five to go Lachlan Brown- Bates barrelled over for a converted try. Two minutes from time the Vikings were awarded a penalty on the edge of Thomson's range and chose to go for the corner. What followed summed up the game: the lineout was won but they knocked on in the drive and in the post scrum play were penalised. Match over.
"We made hard work of it, just never settled but credit to Priorians" said Assistant coach Johnny Marsters. He named Will Swart Chalk Hill Brewery Man of the Match, "incredible work rate, just doesn't give up."
Team: 15.Mike Braans 14.Harry Downing13.Hal Riley12.James Knight
11.Dan Smith 10.Jake Duffield 9.Lee Thomson1.Lachlan Brown - Bates
2.Will Swart3.Tom Browes4.Roydon Miller5.Todd Scotland 6.Ed Sampson
7.Chris Godwin8.Will Hodgson
Tom Knight/ Scotland (42 mins)
Luke Burridge/ Duffield (45 mins)
Acky Downing/Brown-Bates (53 mins)
Brown-Bates/Browes (67 mins)
Tries: Riley; Brown-Bates
Conversions: Thomson (2)
Yellow Cards: Acky Downing
Referee: George Littlechild (Eastern Counties)