Sat 16
Maidstone
0
-
45
League
1st XV
MAIDSTONE MAULED

MAIDSTONE MAULED

By trevor newnham
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MAIDSTONE 0 VIGO 45


Following on last week’s win against Dover, Vigo added another scalp to their belt with a comprehensive mauling of once mighty Maidstone. In fact, it could have been worse with a handful of scoring opportunities fumbled. Some of the rugby Vigo played was quite superb, Maidstone’s supporters looking as shell shocked as their players by the end.
Vigo welcomed back Marcus Hunt for his first game of the season, playing in the unfamiliar role of full back, yet it was from there that he started the ball rolling with a brace of tries. Maidstone had kicked off and initially had some success, attacking across a broad front but Vigo withstood the opening gambit and were soon on the offensive. George Cook, making his first appearance in the 10 shirt in the absence of skipper Tony Whitehead, was full of neat touches, good tactical kicking and adept at getting his line moving, began to direct operations, moving Vigo down towards the Maidstone line. Maidstone fell back but were cut open when Vigo moved the ball down the line to Hunt intruding into the line and crashing over. Cook converted from wide out.
Maidstone came back hard, and only a superb covering tackle by Adam Fitzgerald prevented a try. Maidstone remained deep in Vigo territory but just could not find a way through Vigo’s defence. The Villagers gave away a couple of penalties, Maidstone kicking for touch, but Vigo held out and a beautiful clearance kick by Cook was chased by Hunt and Barrett, forcing Maidstone into a panicky penalty. Vigo opted for a scrum sensing a growing unease and were rewarded with Hunt’s second after fine work by Nick McPherson breaching the home defence and giving Hunt an opening. Within minutes Vigo added to their lead when Will James, displaying Strictly worthy footwork, fleckled his way through a bemused Maidstone defence.
Maidstone’s open side Jamie Marzetti was pulling off tackle after tackle but Vigo were on a roll now, brimming with confidence and keeping the ball moving, with deft lay offs in contact and constant support, discombobulating a home side who began to wear a haunted look. Vigo scented blood and poured forward. Liam Wiltshire came within inches of scoring, Will James was everywhere like a baby rhino on methamphetamines, McPherson darting and linking, Cook prompting and after another McPherson break, Luke Henderson tore over under the sticks. Cook easily converted.
Vigo were in a feeding frenzy now, throwing everything at a shell-shocked Maidstone, with McPherson denied a good scoring opportunity by the referee blocking his route to the goal. Vigo’s pack were in charge, and with fringe players roiling and broiling round the breakdown, Marzetti stood defiantly, tackling here, stealing the ball there. Skipper Lucian Morosan cajoling his troops, was another bright light in the carnage around him. Vigo finished the half with a driving scrum. Initially it looked as though Maidstone collapsed the scrum on the line but McPherson crashed over anyway, Cook converting.
A 33-0 lead at half time was a fair result, such was Vigo’s dominance. Their defence was suffocating, whilst their offence was electric. Maidstone’s coaching staff went to work during the break, and we saw a different Maidstone in the second half. They were now playing for pride and roared back at their tormentors. Hefty centre Josh Smith needed some looking after and he also made ground with some booming clearing kicks. Vigo continued to attack but from deeper positions. Perhaps guilty of over confidence, perhaps intoxicated with their fripperies, they were being given a testing time by Maidstone. The home side desperately threw everything at Vigo, who seemed to be suffering perhaps from the usual Third Quarter Blues. The visitors still had their moments but butchered two golden opportunities with a dropped pass or a forward pass. But their defence passed all the exams being set by Maidstone and gradually began to regain their former domination. Morosan received a Glasgow kiss from his own player and was led from the pitch, dazed and bloodied, and that seemed to mark the end of Maidstone’s defiance. His cajoling and prompting had been paramount in a young side and with Smith dropping to full back, the focus of Maidstone’s attacking dwindled. Vigo got back into their stride and, by now, dominant in the scrum, shoved Maidstone back to allow Ben Moorhouse to be ushered over.
The match all but over, Vigo now started to open up really expansively. A brilliant cross kick pass by Cook was taken equally superbly by Wiltshire on the wing, but the referee disallowed what would have been a worthy try for the big winger. But Vigo persevered and were awarded a penalty close to the Maidstone line. Maidstone dejectedly wandered back to their line. James Clemmence, who had been rock-like in defence, quickly tapped and made ground before finding the evergreen Robbie Hayes, who is unstoppable from nine inches. Cook converted. There was just enough time for Vigo to embark on one of the best passages of play I have ever seen. Back hand flips, pop passes, no look passes, dummies and side steps and what should have been a superb try, was, of course, dropped. And that was that.

Vigo team: M.Hunt; A.Fitzgerald, T. Barrett, J.Clemmence, L.Wiltshire; G.Cook, D.Carslaw; W.James, G.Rawlings (rep: R. Carleton -60’)D.Norton; J.French (capt.), B.Moorhouse; D.Mickelburgh (rep: R.Hayes -56’); N.McPherson.

Referee: James Goksaran (SEFed)
MoM: Vigo’s Luke Henderson.
Maidstone’s MVP – Jamie Marzetti.

Vigo points: Hunt (10’,21’), James (25'), Henderson(31’), McPherson (41), Moorhouse (75’), Hayes (80+2’).
Cons: Cook (5)

Paul Ehrhart (Maidstone President) Vigo’s support play was better, and we just couldn’t break down their defence. We, as a club, are rebuilding and we had some teenagers out their today who were given a bit of a lesson.
John Whitehead: (Vigo Head Coach). An excellent first half. We played to and stuck to our structure. Maidstone struggled to deal with our work at the breakdown.
Lucian Morosan (Maidstone skipper) I have to credit Vigo’s strong defence; they were good at the breakdown and also fluid in attack, with lots of off loads which were hard to defend. We were missing 5 of our best players but it was all a bit of a shock to our teenagers, some of who were making their debut.
Jake French (Capt.) Good first half, we stuck to our game plan. Second half I think we tried to overplay. But I was more pleased with our defence. I volunteered to go in the front row in case of emergency, but I don’t consider George needing a bit of a rest as an emergency !
Chris Wise (Vigo Legend): If you had told me 40 years ago that Vigo would put 45 points on Maidstone 1st, I would have laughed in your face.

GOM: At times, we played some gorgeous rugby. Without doubt, Dom Saunders coming in to coach has allowed John to concentrate on the pack and the results are plain. Our pack is beginning to look formidable. We need to build on the last two wins and move forward now.

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Match details

Match date

Sat 16, Oct 2021

Kickoff

TBC

Competition

London 3 South East

League position

6
Vigo
11
Maidstone