By Kerry Meachen
Another great win to continue the season
Romsey U-14 vs Gosport and Fareham U-14, Sunday 14 Oct 18
On a wet and windy Hampshire morning the Vikings’ players and supporters made their way to Romsey in the driving rain. It was a wonder that Teamo didn’t crash, the number of times folk were on it looking for the “match cancelled” message. But it was not to be. Relying on the fact that Storm Callum had been good enough to drop most of its rain on the Welsh, and that it would stop soon, the game was on.
The Vikings were missing several players, most of them backs. This necessitated a certain amount of juggling of positions by the coaches, with several of the team having to step into unfamiliar positions. One of the strengths of the Vikings is that they do have the strength in depth and attitude that means that players will willingly and successfully swap around, even into positions they’re not used to.
Despite the wet and rain, for the first 20 minutes the spectators were treated to the Vikings playing at their best. The interplay between the forwards, and the forwards and the backs was a joy to watch. The sight of the forwards taking the ball, running and committing the tackler and then releasing it to the ever-present support player was superb. - And brought its just rewards in the shape of 6 tries without reply.
The first came from Ciaran following hard work in the forwards which allowed him to put in one of his classic kick and chases. The second followed a throw to the front of the line from where from the ball went down the line and back and ended up with Ciaran passing to George to allow him to score his first. He then converted it himself with a kick that hit the crossbar and bounced over (I believe Gary promised him £10 if he ever did that).
There followed tries from Ciaran and Joe and finally from Rhys who, acting as scrum half, robbed his opposite number and set off a great series of passing and interplay before Ciaran carried the ball over for the 6th try of the game. There then followed a break as the Romsey side was strengthened by the addition of several of their better players who had been waiting until the second half but were brought on early for fear of Romsey morale dropping too far in the face of the Viking onslaught.
Against this new, stronger team, it became obvious that the Vikings were going to have to work harder on both their game and their discipline.
The last 10 minutes of the half were hard fought, with some great tackling, especially from the new boys and the forwards. However, the Vikings were unable to score again and had to work hard to stop any Romsey points going on the score sheet.
Half-Time: Romsey 0 Vikings 40
The second half started in much the same vein. The opposition were clearly determined not to give the Vikings runners easy access to the try line. Put under pressure the Vikings began to lose their shape and, on occasion, their composure. We began to see players who had previously been passing at just the right time, now going one defender too far and losing the opportunity to pass and allow the move to continue. We saw silly niggles from the opposition getting to some players and ending up in needless penalties.
At a time when the author was worrying about the Vikings drawing or even losing the second half, they managed to compose themselves and realise that they would just have to play better rugby. There followed some brilliant defensive tackling, especially by the forwards and the ‘new boys’ to the team. However, just stopping the opposition is not enough. The Vikings can struggle in the ruck and this was beginning to show itself as the pressure ramped up.
As most spectators know, there is someone on the sideline at most games exhorting players to “pick the ball up” (there may be a word missing in that quote) rather than pile into the ruck. Perhaps Marcus had been listening, but that is exactly what he did. After a series of tough phases he grabbed the ball from the ruck and got his just reward as he charged in for his first try.
The game was getting tougher but the commitment by the Vikings was admirable. All players were throwing themselves into tackles and there was a real desire to win the ball and move forward. Another of these sequences ended with the ball in George’s hands and he went over for the second try of the half. The final try of the game came from Marcus again, who was showing the level of play he is capable of when focused and committed, who bullied his way over for his second.
However the game was not yet over and Romsey continued to press. A late move resulting in a last-minute tackle from Ben, playing in an unfamiliar full back position, denying the home team a consolation try. The next to deny them this was Bailey who, after a move that saw Romsey under our posts, positioned himself perfectly in the ruck and drew the penalty for not releasing that effectively ended Romsey’s hopes of a score.
The whistle blew at a final score of Romsey 0 Fareham and Gosport 59
Tries: Ciaran 3, George 2, Marcus 2, Joe 1, Rhys 1
Conversions: George 5, Ciaran 2
The match awards went to:
Oppositions’ Man of the Match. David. Spotted for his hard work and determined tackling.
Vikings Man of the Match. George. For a great all-round (running kicking and tackling) performance.
And finally, in a blatant travesty of justice, the Justin Bieber shirt went to Ben and his father for forgetting what day it was and missing Wednesday training.
- Don’t forget to give George his tenner Gary.