A fine day at the Fortress this weekend saw the Old Boys take on Vigo. Touted as one of the teams to beat this season having dropped down from London 3 the Willies knew this would be a tough encounter and would have to up their game from the week before if they were to take anything from it.
The game kicked off with the Willies playing into the wind and up the ever so slight slope. Vigos’game plan was clearly to play with the advantages for the first 40 and hope to set a commanding lead.
The first 10 minutes of play saw both teams battle up front with the forwards trying to exert their style on the game and gain positive ball for the backs. Neither team made inroads and the game was played in the middle of the park. As the half wore on V’s10 began to show what he was about and how V’s were going to play their game with strong kicking gaining vital ground into the Willies half. Both teams up until now had shown that their defence was strong and that it would be difficult for either team to break the defensive line by crash ball. With a long kick up field Willies scrambled defence regrouped but were penalised at the break down and V’s had there first kick at goal. Their 10 stepped up and slotted the kick clean through the uprights for first blood of the day 0-3.
From the re-start Willies set about putting V’s under pressure and some excellent work from all the forwards saw V’s on the back foot for a period of time. Inter linking play between the forwards with the car ball and then out into the backs with some strong runs from Sanger and Ranga, Willies made good ground deep in the V’s half. With repeated attempts at trying to break V’s line of defence but to no avail, Finny took it upon himself to add a little bit of magic into the proceedings. With a cute little cross field chip through the V’s back line into the corner of the on rushing winger Shearsy, the ball popping up at just the right moment into the wingers hands who skinned his opposite number for pace and went over in the corner. With the wind in V’s favour the conversion hung in the air before dropping well short of the posts. 5-3 to the Willies.
With little time of the half remaining V’s looked to the advantage of the wind and from the off made quick ground with a big kick up field. Again Willies regrouped and looked to be holding firm until the ref blew again for an infringement at a break down allowing V’s another kick at goal which their 10 happily obliged. With 5 minutes of the half remaining there was some fisty cuffs at a break down with both sides involved…..Perhaps not as involved as Oli who was sent to the bin for a ten minute breather for throwing punches. Naughty boy! Score going into half time 5-6.
With the half time team talk over and water on board the game restarted. The only real difference this half was the Willies ability to limit the penalty count while capitalising on mistakes by V’s to win the game. This was one of the toughest games the Willies had played in for some time, not so much in a physical sense but the organisation and ability of the opposition which meant that there were very few out and out chances throughout the whole game. The second half wore on much the same as the first. Although Vigo never really threatened to score nor did the Willies and it was down to mistakes by Vigo at the break downs that cost them this game. 2 kicks at goal, both good nudges by the Captain put the Willies 11-6 up with time still to go. With the game now in the Willies hands but knowing one simple slip and V’s would punish them the old boys set about retaining the ball and running the clock down.
It was now a slog to the final whistle as V’s looked to attack Willies at every opportunity. The pack led by Oli and the fresh legs of Tim Tom Holland made some strong tackles up front disrupting the V’s clean ball. Tim in the process gaining 20 meters or so and breaking several tackles to put Willies firmly on the front foot. But as the first half, lack of composure at the break downs saw turn over ball to Vigo and the ball kicked deep back into Willies territory. Willies held strong with every player putting in big hits and the clock wound down. From a V’s attack out wide in the Willies half it looked like they had found a break through right until the final pass, when the ball was shipped into touch with a line out to the Willies. The ball was won and V’s instantly put the Old boys under pressure. With the ball at the back, scrum half Burton cleared long and deep into V’s half with the ball bouncing out on their 22. From the line out Willies defence stood firm and the clock was out of time.
Final score 11-6 to the Willies.
A very tough encounter today with both teams very evenly matched. No team really every had the upper hand in this game and it was only down to some good kicking from the captain that this game was won.
Vigo are a very well drilled team and showed the Willies what it will take to stay in this league and challenge for the title this season. Only the second game in, the Willies are starting to show the quality that won them the League the season before and with key players still to come back from injury and work still to be done on the training ground things are looking up for this young Willies side.
MOTM – A tough one for the Barmy Army this week as every player committed 100%. That aside one man stood out having a very good game with ball in hand, making some great runs from deep and also making his tackles. So this week the award went to Jamie Sanger
DOTD – Had to go to the pack leader for his Yellow card so well done to Oli.
Up the Willies!!!