A tough game against Vigo
By Lucy Davies
"stubborn Sittingbourne outfit"
A copy of Vigo's match report:
This was not a match to figure in the list of all time greats, but a bonus point win keeps Vigo in the top four. The mark of a good side, so it is said , is the ability to win ugly. And this was certainly ugly. Vigo, with a great many changes to the team, huffed and puffed and eventually overcame a stubborn Sittingbourne outfit and can now enjoy a break allowing many of their wounded a chance to recover.
The Villagers started confidently, their pick and drive tactics in good working order, marching their opponents down the pitch, eventually setting their stall out in the ‘Bourne 22. Needless to say, they then proceeded to knock on with the try line beckoning and the home side were able to raise the mini-siege, a terrific run by full back Jake Nightingale almost catching Vigo napping. Sittingbourne then fumbled themselves allowing Jamie Caton to clear the lines. Vigo continued to drive forward, led by Robbie Hayes, constantly breaking the gain line or securing loose ball. The flanker is in terrific form this season, his work rate immense, and today was no exception. However, the passing and execution was , at times, woeful. Overlaps ignored, sloppy passes or poor handling meant that, all too often, Vigo’s attacks petered out.
Vigo continued to press, and their pressure was rewarded. Tom Emmitt countered from deep, gliding through the home defence with customary style. The pack piled in and Sittingbourne conceded the penalty, which Dan Norton sent between the posts for the lead. Sittingbourne, also , were a mixture of their usual belligerence, especially in the driving maul, and blunder; one such blunder nearly allowing Stuart Spiers and Emmitt through. Vigo were dominating territorially and really should have made their possession count, but the precision of pass was all too often lacking. Elliott Stickings, a dangerous runner was woefully underused, his first pass coming from the ever reliable Dan Couchman and that was after half an hour! Their superiority was finally rewarded, however, when Jamie Caton attacked from deep, Hayes, as ever, in support and steaming up on the outside, Andy Wilford, who crashed over for the try.
Deep into extra time, Vigo were almost caught napping when from a tapped penalty the lively home scrum half Jamie Talbot darted through. ‘Bourne really should have scored but managed to knock on with the line wide open, a real let off. They then sent a penalty attempt wide in the last play of the half – a double let off for Vigo.
Again Vigo started with pace and power in the second period. Emmitt was once again the catalyst, fielding a kick deep , he glided through the defence and chipped forward. Nick McPherson chased hungrily but was inches short of touching down in the narrow dead ball area. But Vigo kept up the pressure and Wilford plunged over the line, amidst anguished cries for the home players, convinced that he had not grounded the ball properly. But the referee, Laura Pettingale was, as usual, in an excellent position to award the try. Sittingbourne fought back, displaying urgency and verve, winger John Horne always a menace while centre Dean Gaunt was a real handful. But it was Vigo who extended the lead. And it was that man Emmitt who again provided the opening. He sent up a great high kick which Sittingbourne allowed to bounce. The odd shaped ball will always bounce capriciously and when things are not going your way, it will invariably bounce unkindly. So it proved on this occasion. Emmitt retrieved and found Liam Wiltshire who went over for his second try in as many matches. Dan Norton added the extras. Dan Baker was able to take a rest and Warren Lee jogged on for his debut , a fully deserved promotion after sterling work for the A XV, and Vigo resumed their search for a bonus point. That duly came after excellent work down the blind side by the Vigo forwards, driving and recycling superbly. Initially foiled by great work by the Sittingbourne defence, Vigo retrieved the ball and Liam Wiltshire was in the right place at the right time to cross for his second. Three tries in his first two games for the First team, young Wiltshire must be wondering what the fuss is all about.
Sittingbourne are no mugs and they drove back hard at Vigo. They have always had an excellent rolling maul, and they used this to get on the front foot. Vigo were throwing around penalties like confetti, and eventually Miss Pettingale patience ran out, inviting Aaron Porter, who had enjoyed a splendid game, to spend ten minutes in the cooler after one penalty too many. Sittingboiurne strove hard to make the extra man count, Vigo striving equally hard to record a rare nilfer. But, Sittingbourne deserved a try for their efforts, and duly it came, Matt Fender crashing through with a few minutes left on the clock. Neil Hodgkinson, proficient at fly half, added the extras and that was basically it. A tough game but Vigo will take the bonus point with both hands at the end of the day.
Team: T.Emmitt; L.Wiltshire, J.Caton, N.McPherson (capt.), E.Stickings; S,Spiers (rep: R.Lancaster),D.Carslaw; D.Baker (rep: W.Lee), D.Norton, T.Spear; A.Wilford, K.Fenn; R.Hayes, A.Porter; D.Couchman
Rep (not used) M.Robinson
Referee: Laura Pettingale (Kent)
Man of the Match: Tom Emmitt, so stylish, so smooth. Hayes was again outstanding, whilst Dom Carslaw is growing more and nore into his role. For the home side, Jamie Talbot, was really lively, a constant menace.
MOG’s View: The coaching staff are doing a remarkable job, fashioning awinning side which changes every week. The team is still not firing on all cylinders, when it does, there could be interesting times ahead.There is a team spirit evolving which allows the ‘reserves’ to quickly find their feet.
Guest MOG Digby Staples: We overegged the pudding at times – less egg, more pudding.
Matt Hobson (Sittingbourne coach) Just 8-0 at half time, we thought we were in with a shout, but we missed too many tackles We knew it would be tough but a stop/start game didn’t help either side.