Vigo’s third XV duly won this encounter with fierce rivals Old G’s, not without some hiccups, but a dominant pack formed the basis for victory. Playing on this strange pitch – the banana pitch – means that you kick uphill in both halves, is never easy. Factor in the narrowness – it must be 20 metres narrower than Vigo’s home pitch, and there are a couple of problems to think about before you get down to business.
Anyway, the home side started strongly, piling into Vigo, Liam Tyler at 8 leading the charge. Vigo tried to break out but Old G’s were swarming all over them. Nathan Covill, Vigo’s improving scrum half was forced off, so on trotted Harry Wilson, making a welcome return to action after injury, moving into the relatively unfamiliar position of scrum half. (Although, apparently, that had been his position at College). But anyway, Harry made more than a decent job of it, and also putting in some hefty tackles. Gradually, Vigo began to ease out from under the Old Boys’ yoke and themselves began to advance. Their scrum really began to turn the screws, the Old Boys in headlong retreat .
The home full back, Dan McDonald twice came to the rescue, preventing two certain tries as Vigo attacked the Old G’s line. Will James, in fine form , as an emergency front row replacement after a late cry off, was in typical Pamplona mode, but McDonald bravely halted one raid before throwing himself at Rob Lancaster to stop another try. But the pressure was building, and after a particularly lengthy spell of recycling the ball was worked out to Matt Griffiths who thundered over. Old G’s, George Luck, once of this parish, hobbled off, later to return gamely as Old G’s players were falling by the wayside. Once, Vigo had their noses in front, they attacked strongly. The Old Boys held on but there were too many raids, the home side were being pulled hither and yon, Ollie Stringer, varying his game nicely at 10, rewarding himself with a good try, which he converted, to stretch the lead.
Dominant in the scrum, their defence snuffing out any break outs by the Old Boys, it was inevitable that Vigo would score again, and they duly did, George Harrison plunging over after a strong run, converted by Stringer. A 19-0 lead at half time, meant that Vigo could empty their replacement bench, Mike Grayland taking over from Will James one notable change. Mike is nearing the end of his playing days – so he says – someone said’’he’s old enough to be Will’s father’’. An uncharitable soul quipped ‘’ grandfather, you mean’’ – but at the first scrum after the break, the Old G’s retreated even faster, bodies left all over the place, MG’s ‘bulk’ obviously a factor !!!
But the changes meant, also, a certain lack of communication for the Villagers, and Old G’s started to advance quite menacingly. A series of forward drives and good phases, with too many penalties conceded by the visitors, saw the Old Boys set up camp in the foothills of Vigo territory. Steve Jarrett rumbled over to open the Old G’s account. Vigo seemed quite affronted by this and ferociously responded. The field was littered with bodies as Old G’s tried to stem the assault, the game becoming a bit stop and start. Vigo’s scrum resumed their assault on their opposite numbers, so it was quite appropriate that James Corridan, who had a very good game in the tight, should then be rewarded with a try, converted by Nathan Covill, freshly restored to health.
Rob Carleton then put the result beyond reach with a fine try, sweeping over after more heavy pressure. Old G’s, to their credit, fought on, Brett ‘’Hovis’’ Hill never giving up. Vigo started to conceded penalties, seemingly at every break=down, Carleton even being pinged for offside, even though he had been replaced ten minutes after his try, turning his shirt inside out and offering encouragement from the sidelines. His replacement, teenager Anthony Thomson, having been stopped on the line during another raid, must have been bemused at what was going on around him. Not as bemused as Dan Couchman, however, who was yellow carded on behalf of the team as the penalties came thick and fast.
Old G’s kept pounding away and duly gained reward when Tom Hamerton, another whole hearted performer, smashed over in the corner in the last play of the game, thus rounding off an eventful afternoon.
Scorers: Old G’s . Jarrett (54’), Hamerton (80’). Vigo: Tries: Griffiths (12’), Stringer (28’), Harrison (34’) Corridan (57’) Carleton (69’). Cons: Stringer (2), Covill (1)
Man of the Match: James Corridan
Vigo team: R.Lancaster; L.Pitchell, M.Griffiths, G.Harrison, J.Crittenden; O.Stringer, N.Covill; W.James, S.Smith, J.Corridan; R.Carleton, M.Lingham; R.Hayes, B.Buckland; D.Couchman (capt.)
Replacements (all used) A.Thomson, W.Millins, M.Gregory, H.Wilson, M.Grayland
Referee: Ian Edmonds
MOG’s view: My first chance to see the 3rd team in action this season,and impressed that they did not call on any first teamers to fill holes, apart from Will James who was a last minutes replacement. There are several good players, apart from the stalwarts like Couchie, Hayesie and the likes. Next season, there is due to be an influx of under 17’s so it will be essential to keep this team going to offer the youngsters a way into senior rugby, as well as re-start the 2nd team.