On a beautiful sunny afternoon on the Kent North Downs, it resembled a heat haze across the Serengeti. The lads arrived all keen as mustard. Smiles all-round at us being able to field a 3rd team cajoling a few out of retirement to help fulfil this fixture, and what a fixture it turned out to be.
Aylesford arrived with confidence after a good win against Sheppey the week before. Vigo received from the KO, it took a few minutes (that felt like hours) to blow the rust off until a delightful breakaway opportunity allowed Will Millins to scarper up the touch line and cross the whitewash for the first try to kick off proceedings.
Aylesford showed great strength in the 9/10 channel causing Vigo trouble every time they carried the ball. Dave Wiltshire (another coming out of retirement) coming on to move into the centres replacing Luke Spiers who moved out to the wing after a very promising start for Will Millins was cut short after his hamstring let go (get well soon).
Scrums were fairly even throughout once settled. Good honest competition up front with the Vigo old hand Jeff Miles; Alan Edwards and Tom Spear holding their own and then some against a very good Aylesford front-row combination.
The game offered end-to-end excitement for the spectator even down to the wire when there was a handful of points in it, it could have gone either way. Aylesford No. 4 receiving a deserved MoM for them (though this was a very close run thing between their 9/10 too).
Glimmers of hope for Vigo who were good at the breakdowns in the second half, counter rucking was a pleasure to watch.
Aylesford didn’t give up. Vigo were caught out too many times and if it wasn’t for two superb covering tackles to stop certain tries (Daniel Burgin and Luke Spiers), the result could have gone another way today. Bob Fitton also chipped in with a superb tackle on the line to hold up another Aylesford wave of attack.
Lineout wasn’t our strongest point today. Alan Edwards, solid as ever. Jeff Smith, well he was everywhere and out in his usual shift. Couchman, Turvey and Rob Jones tremendous at carrying and at the breakdown. Midfield had the solid Justin Barrett and Dave Wiltshire who left their tanks empty. Hats off to Peter who put a shirt on to play 9 for us, huge thank you. Bob Fitton making an appearance, the magic is still there along with a few majestic conversions to boot too.
Vigo took our chances. Young Tom Walpole making his debut at both flanker and No.8. Well done! Lee Whatman linking the forwards and backs well. The back 3 of now Daniel Burgin, Luke Spiers And Oli Jarman operating well together against some very well worked pieces that they had to deal with. Daniel, playing his second game in the seniors, had a tremendous game and just pipped Luke Spiers for taking the MoM award on the day.
Past players coming out of the woodwork to put on a shirt to help the club today helped fulfil an enjoyable fixture. Sam Andrews played his heart out and was a pleasure having him step across the whitewash again for his annual rugby fix.
The game was played in good spirits and a pleasure to play a very credible Aylesford side. Looking forward to the return fixture.
MoM - Daniel Burgin
Team: Jeff Miles, Alan Edwards, Tom Spier, Rob Jones (sharing with Sam Andrews), Carl Nightingale; Dan Couchman, Richard Turvey (replaced by Tom Walpole), Peter Watson (replaced by Bob Fitton), Lee Whatman, Justin Barrett, Luke Spiers, Daniel Burgin, Oli Jarman, Dave Wiltshire.
7 tries and 3 conversions (Bob x3 Oli x1) Try scorers:
Luke Spiers x2