Another winning game for the Vikings
By Kerry Meachen
A windy day at Gosport, but a winning match.
Gosport and Fareham Vikings vs Havant -28 Oct 18
The day dawned bright and chilly at Gosport Park. There was a strong wind which was to influence a game which had the spectators wondering what was happening in the first half and then welcoming back the team they know in the second.
Wisely, the members of the philosophers club and other supporters observed the warm up from the safety of the clubhouse. There they were regaled with stories of the weekend visit to London Irish. One tale was an unverified, non-attributable, account of Gary spilling his beer over himself not once but twice! Fake news I hear you cry, especially in light of Gary awarding the Justin Bieber shirt for a non-alcohol spillage event. Readers, you must make up your own minds.
On to the game. Havant had the kick off and underestimated the strength of the wind and the ball failed to go 10. The resulting scrum got the ball to Ciaran but he was held up and the ball went back to Havant. Havant put the Vikings under pressure and some poor tackling by the defence saw the visitors close to scoring until an attacking error allowed Gosport to get the ball and kick with the wind for a spot of relief.
There followed some scrappy play with Havant continuing to pressure the home side. The strain proved too much when, despite a brave effort by Fin, they ran in the first try of the game. The wind proved to be too much for the kicker and the try went unconverted. 0-5.
The crowd were getting concerned about the evidence of commitment and motivation as the Vikings ambled back for the kick-off. Where was the dynamic side we know, where were the shouts of encouragement, why did the team seem so apathetic?
Anyway, there then followed some moments of individual brilliance as Harry secured the ball allowing Finn to set off on a storming run before popping the ball to Ciaran to finish and score the Viking’s first try, ably converted by George. Even then, a spectator was heard to say, “Why are they all moving in slow motion?” as the team bimbled back for the kick off.
From the kick-off, Havant, who were playing with real drive, secured the ball, broke tackles, passed it down the line and scored in the corner for the final try of the half.
Half-time: Vikings 7 Havant 10
The crowd was definitely restless. We know the Vikings are slow to start but we hadn’t seen anything like this since the semi-final against Winchester. All hopes were placed on a motivational talk by the coaches and the boys firing themselves up.
The second half saw Vikings playing into the wind. Playing against such a strong wind meant that passing was difficult, but that applied to both teams. An unnecessarily long pass by the opposition allowed a great interception by George and a series of moves and phases resulted in Ben releasing Samson for a great run in and a well-deserved try. The wind once again prevented the conversion but Vikings were finally in the lead and beginning to spark. Fin and Callum were putting in some great defensive work. Forwards were even picking the ball up rather than piling into rucks and this gave the Vikings much needed possession. The visitors were being picked up for repeated infringements around the ruck and one of these allowed a quick tap and simple pass to Ciaran who took off and ran through the opposition for his second of the match. This time the wind was bested and the try converted.
Vikings 17 Havant 10.
The forwards were now beginning to gain ascendancy over their opponents. There were comments about how our forward fitness was beginning to tell. The new additions to the team were making their mark and showing that they had fitted in well with their fellow players. The next try was all forward work with a great rip by Michael, who was fighting for everything, and a pick up by Rhys who ran in to the corner to score. 22-10.
The forwards were again in evidence as they won a scrum against the head allowing Ciaran to slice through the opposition for another try, which he converted himself. However, it wasn’t all going the Vikings’ way. The visitors showed what they were capable of in the final score of the game. Following a knock-on from a difficult kick-off Havant went back to basics and secured the ball in the scrum and sent it down the line to allow a score in the corner. But it was too late.
The whistle blew shortly afterwards with the final score at Vikings 29, Havant 15.
Another game of two halves, against an opposition who showed what they were capable of, but luckily also played erratically at times.
Havant awarded their Player of the Match to Ciaran, whilst the Vikings gave theirs to Michael, evidently for being “a good player” – but we know what Andy meant and had noted the hard work Michael had put in through the game!
Controversially, the Justin shirt-of-shame went to Tristan for spilling tea on a fellow supporter. Still, could have been worse. It might have been beer – and spilt twice.