Vigo were deep in trouble by Thursday, only 7 players available for selection. However, Old Gravesendians found themselves without a game and several of their number helped their close rivals out and made up the team. This really demonstrates the friendship between the two clubs, even more remarkable in that the match between the Old Boys and Vigo saw a bit of rancour and violence. So hats off to Old Gravesendians. That rather puts to shame those Vigo players who could not find themselves to help out their club. Those that did play were also ready and willing to play in all sorts of unlikely positions to help the team – Mike Szodi, usually a full back, joined the big boys in the pack, hooker Richard Turvey at wing forward, the mercurial Tom Emmitt at scrum half. Then there was Pat Norton in his first game of the season, at stand off and looking like he had never been away.
So, it was perhaps inevitable then that Anchorians 2nd team made short work of this mixture of players. But Vigo worked hard, their defence much improved. Norton, kicking beautifully, was a good general, whilst Steve Thompson from Old G’s made some terrific breaks in midfield. Unfortunately, they could do little to stop the home side from taking control. Their big pack, obviously confident were as adept as their first XV with the catch and drive and rolling maul, all of their points virtually being products of these tactics. Vigo worked hard but conceded tries at regular intervals in the first half. Norton tackled well, whilst Tom Emmitt put in his tuppence worth,although the referee (18 years old but showing huge promise) deemed many of his efforts to be a tad high, much to Tom’s consternation, who insisted that the tacklee had been ducking into the tackle.
Vigo attempted to move the ball, which they had worked so hard to wrest, but the conditions did not help, the rain and wind constant, but at times, were a bit guilty of over-committing too many players to the ruck and maul, which played into the bigger home pack. In the second half, the wind and slope were in favour of the visitors, and they enjoyed – if you can possibly use that term in the cold and wet – more possession. Whatever the shirt they normally wear, the Vigo team fought hard with a pride in their performance which was all the more laudable. They duly gained their reward when Pete Hayward, who had a great game, barged his way over at the second attempt.
Anchorians were obviously victors, but thereal winner was the spirit and ethos of grass roots rugby. One team helping out another in difficulty. It is to be hoped that Vigo will not hesitate to return the favour should Gravesendians find themselves in the same position.
Vigo Star Man: Pete Hayward
Team: J.Edwards; N.Howick, S.Thompson, J.Shakespeare, S.Francis; P.Norton, T.Emmitt; P.Hayward, D.Owen, J.Miles; M.Szodi, A.Buckley; S.Christmas, R.Turvey; R.Coleman
Replacements (all used: S.Coleman, R.Allan
Referee: James Clisby (Kent)