Carl Nightingale’s men enjoyed arguably their best win of the season, against a strong Gravesend team who accepted their defeat with good grace it has to be said, in a well fought game played with tremendous spirit by both sides. Dan Couchman, with a hat trick, led the way, an incredible come back for the durable warrior, who a few months ago could hardly walk after a back injury, but now thankfully back to full strength.
Gravesend had first use of the (notorious) slope and were soon taking full advantage, their big inside centre taking some stopping. Two converted tries, was fair reward for their early pressure, as Vigo still seemed to be trying to sort themselves out, the team showing lots of changes. Gravesend in fact, went on to score a couple more converted tries. But, crucially, Vigo struck back with tries by Will Castle,striking from short distance and Will Millins after good second phase ball found its way to the winger. Bob Fitton chipped a conversion in typically Fitton fashion. 12- 26 at half time. Not a big enough lead with the slope.
When we talk about the slope, one would expect it to be like the Old G’s slope. Nowhere like it, but it is there, subtle but so often decisive. And so it proved today. Vigo needed to make an early statement, which they did emphatically,Dan Couchman rounding off a rolling drive to boost the Villagers spirit and energy. Gradually Gravesend’s big men, at 8 and 12, began to wane, their first half efforts draining their energy, and probably a bit tired of having Fitton and Paget hanging on to their ankles like rabid Jack Russells, and the whole team seemingly following suit. Ever competitive, as one would expect, but Vigo now had the collective bit between their teeth. In fact, they got a bit too carried away with themselves, Bob Fitton remarkably shown a yellow card for some technical offence, apparently his first yellow card for some time. The last time was in black and white. When I say ‘shown’ a yellow card, that’s not technically true. The referee, Sam ‘Bones’ Andrews was having trouble finding his cards in his (admittedly) voluminous shorts so he waved a bare fist in the air muttering ‘’That’s a yellow. Get off.’’ The Cae Of The Phantom Card. Sam then found his card and promptly despatched a Gravesend player for not rolling away a couple of minutes later,closely followed by Colin Luck for something Luckesque. Actually there was a suspicion that our Colin ‘engineered’ his yellow, apparently desperately in need of a rest – well, he is getting on a bit – and his enforced ten minutes was enough to recharge his batteries.
Harry Pattison, bravely playing with a chipped fingernail or something, then came off the bench and danced through for a typical Pattison try – all fleckles and kick steps – Fitton converting with his pitching wedge of a right foot. Couchman rounded off things with a further brace, Fitton adding one more conversion. Vigo had a couple more tries disallowed as they took control. Gravesend beavered away but just could not find a way through, Nick Haigh putting in a great shift defensively. As the light faded high up here on the veldt so too did the Gravesend challenge, the referee finally ending an excellent match played in the right spirit by a fine visiting team.
Vigo team: C.Cutts; W.Millins (rep: M.Grayland), J.Knight, I.Horner, L.Pitchell; B.Paget (rep: H.Pattison), B.Fitton; J.Miles, A.Edwards (rep: C.Judson), W.Castle; C.Luck (rep: J.Caton), C.Nightingale (capt.); N.Haigh, M.Gregory; D.Couchman
MoM: Dan Couchman