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1st XV - Match centre

Sat 1 Dec 14:00 - London & SE Division - London 3 South East Full time



Neither coach was happy after this error strewn match. Well, David Sia, the home coach, was slightly happier. At least his side had picked up the points, but he knew that his side had underperformed but had managed to scrape a win. Vigo’s coach, John Whitehead, was not pleased at all. Vigo had thrown away an excellent chance of a win to keep themselves in the hunt for at least a play off place, stuttering through the match. ‘’We took too many wrong options, ball in hand’’.
Vigo could have even nicked it at the end. So used to snatching victory from the jaws of defeat in added time, this time it was not to be. A last desperate scrum, Beccehamian a man short but Vigo spilled the ball at the back of the scrum and Becs cleared the ball away with a huge sigh of relief.
Vigo had actually started reasonably well, rolling down the hill at Becs. After beating leaders Crowborough in their last game, the Old Boys would have been expected to be on a high, but they seemed curiously flat, as flat as the weather, all mist and fret. After Carol Kirkwood had promised the sun would be out this afternoon. It’s all over, me and you, Carol. How can I trust you again? Anyway, Becs seemed to rely on getting the ball out to their big man, Dave (Watkins or Speed?), letting him advance a few yards, attracting Vigo defenders before recycling the ball to their quicker blokes and hoping there would be an overlap. All well and good, except Big Dave didn’t advance too far before being chopped down by Tony Whitehead or Dave Winstone. So it all got a bit static, both sides feeling their way. A bit like we will do after Brexit. Something might happen. Of course, the constant drizzle, a smirr they call it up North, didn’t help the handling. Or the kicking really. Too often, it was just a hopeful punt down (or up) hill, perhaps hoping there would be a handling error, or something. So, all a bit depressing really. Every now and again, a flash of good play shone through the smirr (I like this word), Elliot Stickings looking the most threatening on either side, really.
Appropriately, then, Stickings scored. Twenty minutes of probing and puffing, and Becs were suddenly swarming forward in their first real co-ordinated attack. Vigo held on just but suddenly Becs dropped the ball on the attack and Tony Whitehead grabbed the ball and sped off. Looking up he realised he had about seventy metres to go and decided, wisely, to let a quicker bloke have a go. A lovely kick forward, most of Becs defence had been up in attack so there was room at the back, Whitehead summing up the situation in a flash. Stickings pace carried him on to the ball, a nudge forward and the ball bouncing kindly, and over the line for a try from nowhere really. But probably deserved, Vigo having made marginally less mistakes than the home side.
Becs continued with the game plan. Ball out to Big Dave. Ball recycled. Quick men attack. And finally it worked. Big Dave made a few extra yards. Becs recycled the ball quickly, Vigo committed some kind of offence. Tormentor-in-Chief, Alex Warsop, banged the ball deep into Vigo territory, Becs won the line out, surged forward, recycled it a bit more and Solomon Ushier wormed his way over. Warsop converted with a beauty from wide out. That woke up the home side, and all of a sudden they were flying, passes moving swiftly, ball sticking and they suddenly looked like a side lying second in the table. Within a minute or so, Becs added to their lead, another lovely handling movement ripping Vigo’s defence apart for Freddy Buckle, fresh off the bench, to score in the corner.
Vigo regathered their wits and fought back but hamstrung by a spluttering line out, where Becs’ Ryan Souter reigned, they were unable to make much headway. Vigo’s scrum was pretty solid and the defence round the fringes had been good, Dom Carslaw throwing himself bravely into tackle after tackle. Winstone and Whitehead, as usual, were tight so Vigo were always in the match. Those two tries in quick succession might have floored them before this season, but nowadays they are more durable, able to absorb a blow but come back fighting. Thus, the first half drew to a close, Becs holding a narrow lead, but Vigo were by no means out of this.
Becs had the slope in the second half, and came out swinging but still lacked the fluency and accuracy in pass and kick they had glimpsed so briefly in that two try spell. Vigo were also not at their fluent best, grimly trying to grope around for their game. Alas,it continued to elude them. Becs mounted another attack, Ben Moorhouse shown a yellow for hauling down a maul, but Becs could still make no headway against a stubborn Vigo defence. Their line out, once supreme, began to splutter, allowing Vigo to work their way out of a tight corner. And a superb break by Stickings nearly made the home side pay, as Vigo broke from deep. Back came Moorhouse, back came Vigo. They worked their way uphill to threaten the Becs line. Now it was Becs who were throwing away penalties. Three in a minute in the red zone without censure. Dom Carslaw almost made it after a quick tap and go, and although Vigo appealed for a high tackle, to be fair, he was pretty low as he stretched for the line, so close but no teddy bear. But Vigo held the territory they had won . Another penalty and Vigo chose the scrum, where they were beginning to gain some dominance. The ball popped out to Whitehead on a ferocious line. Even the superb Callum Buckler, who had tackled everything that moved, could not hold out Whitehead in Baby Rhino mode. Over he went, so did his conversion. All square.
Sadly, Carslaw, like a boxer who had taken one too many shots limped off, Olly Stringer moving into unfamiliar territory at scrum half (and making a decent fist of it), whilst Phil Sewell came on to play second row, Moorhouse moving back into the back row, both adding a bit of drive around the field. Vigo came on but Becs were always dangerous on the counter and one such attack from deep should have brought reward. Vigo’s defence was shredded and ,much to coach Sia’s fury, the scoring pass (or what should have been) went forward. Vigo, relieved, hit back, their scrum making a real mess of the home side, forcing Becs into changing round their front row. But, as they had threatened earlier, Becs again struck from deep. Warsop again finding touch with a lovely kick, Becs won the ball, swept across the field and Sam Edwards was ushered into the corner.
Vigo have shown all season that they are never more dangerous than in the last few moments and threw everything into the last few minutes. Jordan Souter, at inside centre, absolutely smashed into the tackle, not once but twice probably three times, in a blur of action as Vigo pounded away. Becs were stretched, were hanging on, and yet another penalty saw one of their players shown a yellow much to his disgust. Vigo had an attacking scrum five metres out. Surely this was it? But, dear readers, you know the result from the second paragraph. It was not to be, just a losing bonus point, small consolation, but really they had only themselves to blame. The players knew it, the atmosphere in the changing room afterwards reflecting their collective misery.
Scorers; Becs. Tries: Ushier (28’), F.Buckle (30’) Edwards (77’). Cons: Warsop (1) Vigo. Tries: Stickings (17’), Whitehead (68’). Cons : Whitehead (1)
Vigo team: J.Clemmence; A.Fitzgerald, L.Vint, D.Winstone (capt.), E.Stickings; T.Whitehead, D.Carslaw (rep: O.Stringer); W.James, H.Wilson (rep: G.Rawlings), D. Norton; B.Moorhouse, J.French; R.Hayes (rep: P.Sewell), L.Henderson; N.McPherson.
Referee: Martin Wilson (SE Fed)
Man of the match: Dom Carslaw (Vigo)

David Sia (Becs coach): Well ground out win for us. Vigo came with a game plan which we couldn’t match. The elements played a big part in what was a dour game, and in the end it all came down to the rub of the green really – in our favour . Must pick out our back three who played well.
John Whitehead (Vigo coach) We made too many wrong decisions ball in hand. We seemed to go into our shell, just didn’t play to our full potential.
Will James (Vigo prop). The lads are all very frustrated. We know we could have done better.

Quilter Kids First Champions winner – November: Hinckley RFC

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League table

# Team Pl Pts
1. Crowborough 11 46
2. Beccehamian 11 39
3. Vigo 11 36
4. Pulborough 11 36
5. Old Williamsonians 11 35
6. Old Dunstonians 11 35
7. Lewes 11 28

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