Ben Buckland has struggled to raise a competitive second team all season, with the Club’s resources stretched thin, through injury and unavailability. Slowly but surely, players are beginning to filter back and, although well-beaten , there were signs that the team is beginning to get stronger. Youngsters like the Miles brothers, teenaged prop, Harry Newby, will surely benefit from a pretty torrid introduction to Senior rugby. Vigo were certainly up against a strong Gravesend outfit, coached by ex-Vigo player/coach, Elliot Blackmore, ever a welcome visitor to Swanswood.
The unlikeliest pairing of skipper Buckland at 10, and veteran Robbie Hayes at 12, both normally flankers, gave some indication of Vigo’s selection problems, but they gave their all, as usual, and the team responded taking the game to their visitors initially. Their pack took on a typical big Gravesend pack with some relish and achieved some early success. However, they could not quite manage to find the killer pass to reward their endeavour. Gravesend patiently absorbed the early pressure and struck after 25 minutes, a superb offload out of the tackle freeing the Gravesend player who scored a converted try. Soon afterwards, Gravesend, warming to the task, took a scrum against the head and their nippy scrum half streaked away half the length of the pitch to score in the corner.
Vigo returned to the attack and scored a fully deserved try. The ball was booted forward and the Gravesend defender was caught in a double tackle by Josh and Nathan Miles, the brothers combining to fell their opponent. Vigo recycled the ball and Max Gregory scored, fair reward for a whole-hearted display. Nathan Covill belted the conversion from wide out, to haul Vigo back into the match at half time.
Gravesend re-applied themselves in the second half, scoring three converted tries in a devastating ten minute spell, and basically putting the game to bed. Vigo, with veterans Dan Couchman, Rob Carelton and Jamie Caton, in fine form, fought hard and forced their way back into the match – unfortunately without the points to reflect their efforts. In fact, at one stage Gravesend gave away four penalties in as many minutes, such was the pressure they faced. Possibly lucky not to have any yellow cards, they rode their fortune and held out to see the result home safely. Vigo, arguably should have scored more but wrong decisions at crucial times denied them the try their efforts undoubtedly deserved.
Team: R.Lancaster; N.Miles, J.caton, R.Hayes, G.Harrison; B.Buckland (capt.), N.Covill; H.Newby, M.Gregory, D.Cox; R.Carleton, J.Miles; Brooksy, L.Evans; D.Couchman
Reps (all used) M.Grayland, M.Lingham, P.Checksfield, O.Jarman, L.Pitchell.
Star Player: Dan Couchman