Luckily, Storm Haggis didn’t quite make landfall in Kent, but it did send it’s young brother over to make the doughty spectators' viewing pleasure a tad uncomfortable. Rain tolled a sad end to the summer, and probably had quite a lot to say in the ball handling skills of most of the players. But both teams strove hard to offer some entertainment to those hardy (and foolish) enough to support their respective teams.
Most of the action in the opening period of play took place between the twenty two metre lines. Unfortunately, when either team got into the danger zones, the greasy ball became too difficult to handle. I guess a certain frisson of excitement as the try line appeared through the curtains of rain, then the mind was distracted enough to drop the ball. Both sides were, however, putting together some pleasing moves, short pop passes and deft offloads belying the teams apparent stature in the pecking order of world rugby.
Eventually, East Peckham, who had failed to take advantage of the slope, conceded a penalty which Ollie ‘the Juice’ Jarman banged over to give Vigo a narrow lead. East Peckham reacted, but met an immoveable force in Nick Haigh, standing in at hooker, but tackling like the fine flanker he is. His team, inspired, worked hard to hold off their hosts, and managed to get to half time, with their line intact.
Half time saw the fearsome Danny Baker enter the field of play, along with a giant prop. But this had little effect on Vigo. Danny (ex-Vigo – along with being ex-all number of clubs) and now coach of high flying Lordswood, deigned to get involved in the action from time to time, but he could not inspire his team-mates. Vigo’s front row of the promising youngster Harry Newby, Haigh and Will James are low slung and East Peckham found it difficult to get low enough to have a huge effect on the scrum. In fact, it was Vigo who stretched their lead, when after ten minutes, Dom Mickleburgh – who had been trying to drive from the back of the scrum in the first half, finally succeeded, finishing over the line. Callum Gibson nonchalantly converted, the designated kicker, The Juice, being off the field for a fag break.
Vigo, with the slope, began to build up some momentum, switching players around to give all the players a chance.Even so, the Villagers spurned a couple of chances, one knock on within a foot of the line especially gilt edged. It might have proved to be costly, especially when East Peckham raised their game and came hard at Vigo. But Vigo held firm, the likes of Mike Szodi, Josh Crittenden and, naturally Nick Haigh meeting every challenge with some fine defending. Slowly but surely, the momentum went out of the home side and Vigo held on to maintain their unbeaten start to the season.
Team: M.Szodi; W.Millins, N.Miles, O.Jarman, J.Crittenden; C.Gibson, L.Whatman; H.Newby, N.Haigh, W.James; M.Lingham, C.Judson; Brooks, Josh Miles; D.Mickleburgh
Rep (both used) M.Grayland, L.Pitchell
Man of the Match: Nick Haigh