With no coach for the team it fell down to the boys to make their own journey into the heart of darkness (Kent), having endured a painfully frustrating loss to Bec's the week before it was clear from the off that Bank needed to correct the performance and the attitude they were going into games with. Again we were up against a team fighting for league leadership in Vigo and as usual we were playing away from home on a pitch with the aesthetic and structural qualities of a Muller Rice. Two by two the team trickled in and we went out to warm up aware of the task at hand with only a 16 man squad against Vigo's 22 and full home support.
The slow pitch proved to make the game a physical affair to start with and despite promising attacking play we went 5 - 0 early on due to an unfortunate line-out mishap and a very lucky bounce. This was the catalyst to some fantastic attacking rugby with tight work from the forwards, some excellent running lines around park allowing Bank to get under the posts courtesy of a David Brooks penalty try. Owen O'Malley stepped up to make it 15/15 from the T (after an earlier penalty), and Bank took the lead. Moments later following a neat run from Colfer followed by some hands on the break Brooks was over the line again, and again was subject to a suspiciously high tackle whilst scoring. Bank were up 15 - 5 and at this point needed to heed the words of Bob Pittam "everybody please stop ******* each other off, we haven't won yet". Unfortunately we didn't, and went on to lose focus and conceded 2 further soft tries and a penalty before half-time with an additonal penalty making it 18 - 15 at the break.
The second half saw Vigo score another opportunistic try benefitting from an excellent box kick straight from kick off, Bank needed now to regroup and focus on securing possession and position on the pitch. Unfortunately, Vigo were effective around the breakdown and we struggle in the face of a few strong runners and an increasingly aggressive pack. A key difference between the two weeks was seen with some fantastic periods of defence in our own 22 under significant pressure and the lineout working well to pressure Vigo when it could. A game wouldn't be complete without a moment of controversy and mid way through the second half the referee appeared to miss a shoulder charge and in the ensuing occasion Bank let in another cheap try going further behind. Not disheartened, and never giving up HSBC fought back to score a late try following a delicious move in the backs with Gary Payne the ultimate beneficiary. Converted again by O'Malley we looked to press again for a bonus point try but were thwarted by a lock of continuity and some careless handling mistakes. Vigo went over for another and the game ended 35 -22 to the home team. In patches we fulfilled our potential on a slow pitch against a disciplined and aggressive team, we were let down by periods where we failed to concentrate on our own game and holding on to possession.