McSorleys Match Report - Premiership A (13/Oct/2018)
By Chris Harris
Vikings show promise but proved unable to pillage the Scottish Nomads.
The second league outing for the newly christened Vikings took place under the lights on pleasant evening at Shek Kip Mei Sports Ground (better known as “The Rock”). The side had some last minute alterations with Yuseff Murphy, James Stevenson and Liam Bowen (on his debut day for the club) slotting in to key positions at lock and flankers respectively having already put in a hard stint for the Raiders earlier in the day. With temperatures dipping towards the mid to low 20s Celsius and the weather clear with a slight breeze the conditions were perfect for entertaining Rugby.
The Sandy Bay faithful were certainly the first to be entertained with some staunch defensive work and good forward play setting a solid platform in the first 10 minutes. Concerted pressure and possession led from the front by Captain Jacob Rumble telling in allowing the Vikings to milk a penalty which was kicked to touch for a lineout deep in opposition territory. Will Spence called for the snap quick lineout which resulted in good clean ball and a perfect platform for the driving maul. Unfortunately as the maul advanced towards the line for what seemed an inevitable piggies try the ball squirmed loose out the back. Despite this Sandy Bay reacted well with the ball being quickly flicked off the floor straight to newly arrived Fly Half Lewis EBERT. The backs then showed their silky passing and running lines to shift the ball on to winger Rodrigo Castanheira who finished well out wide to put the Vikings 5-0 up. Paddy Balfour lined up the kick but was not successful with the conversion.
Some staunch defense was forthcoming after the restart with some good covering tackles being made as Nomads showed their willingness to shift the ball and to use forward runners in the backs channels. Errors by the Vikings began to pile up and with the scrum struggling were unable to retain possession for any period of time. Inevitably the defensive line cracked and Nomads registered their first points on the board. With the defensive wall being breached the Nomads put their foot down and found another gear to add a further 3 tries (with one conversion) before the break to lead 22-5. Despite this the team was confident that with a strong showing in the second half we could get back into the game and the team was further enhanced by the introduction of Ash Hyde at No. 8 and Zac Cinammond joining his brother Rory in the front row.
Unfortunately the second half began in the worst possible fashion with Scottish gathering a loose ball and showing some good enterprise down the wing to score within the first minute of the half. While the fresh legs in the forwards obviously helped with getting good go forward ball and the Vikings spent some good time in opposition territory an unfortunately all too common error gifted up possession and allowed Nomads to break away for another score.
The response to this was impressive however with the team scrapping well in possession and forcing an error from the Nomads which allowed a lineout inside the opposition 22. After setting up the maul Ash Hyde decided to run it off the back and made good yards only to be stopped short. The rest of the pack tried in vain to crash over from a few meters out allowing Ash to get up and show them the way again, barreling over the line from 5 yards with 3 defenders clinging on to try and stop him, showing that the Front Row Masterace boasting is not all hot air. Owen Pescod safely added the extras.
Unfortunately that seemed to be the last of the energy the Vikings could muster with all substitutes now used (despite Tony Scott after 5 beers pulling his boots back on and insisting he could play) tired legs began to show with certain players going down with cramp in their one remaining calf and others like “Pony” Stevenson showing signs of fatigue as they passed their 120th minute of Rugby for the day. Nomads were able to take full advantage of this to run in a further 3 tries towards the end of the game. What was a hard fought but ultimately fairly contested game up to that point was slightly marred by a late shot to Sean Robertson after his clearing kick. Despite being in great pain Sean gamely finished the match and a diagnosis of a torn lung as a result of the hit exemplifies the effort that all players put in to the game.
A scoreline of 57-12 was probably not a fair reflection of the performance from what is a very new look side in only their second league game together. Each week has shown positives and marked improvements and the team is raring to get after Kowloon in the next fixture.
- Chris “Pegleg” Harris