Lordswood vs Vigo 26-17


Vigo try: Liam Wiltshire (69 mins)

Pens: Dave Winstone (3)

Drop Goal: Winstone (1) Lordswood tries: Paul Notley (18), Matt Iles(39), Sean Evans 77), Sean Bones (80)

Cons: Dave Dorman(3)

Lordswood’s Shaun Tandy, who recently tragically lost his life, would have been proud of his side today, as they battled with huge heart against a visiting Vigo team who had been showing signs of a resurgence. At one time down to 12 players, Lordswood showed immense will and two late tries condemned Vigo to a dispiriting defeat.

A minute’s silence in honour of Shaun was a sombre introduction of what was to come. Inspired by his memory perhaps, Lordswood went straight into the attack. Their main weapon, without a doubt, is their big, competitive pack and they were soon in action, catching and riving from the lineout. Vigo struggled to contain them as they swirled and rumbled towards the Vigo line. Vigo resisted ,Lordswood persisted and in a desperate attempt at holding Lordswood at bay, number 8Phil Sewell was sent to the NBC for interference. Lordswood spotted an opportunity and threw everything at Vigo. Pat Norton added his slight frame to shore up the back row and Vigo managed to hold out, but not for long. A loose ball was taken up hard by the ever reliable Paul Hyland, taken on by Michael Scaife, who nearly made it to the line before popping the ball up for centre Paul Notley to finish off. James Dorman added the conversion.

Restored to full strength, Vigo began to fight back, forcing their way down the pitch, Sewell, obviously refreshed after his break, leading the charge, Danny Baker adding his impetus. Lordswood’s defence was strong, however, and with fly half Scaife a constant threat with clever passing and a decent boot, Vigo were never able to take control. However, Lordswood’s defence came at a price, in the form of a series of penalties. Lucky to escape censure for one attempted decapitation on flying winger Elliot Stickings, Lordswood coughed up more penalties, a couple of which Dave Winstone nailed in a swirling, difficult wind to bring Vigo back to one point.

Vigo needed to move this big Lordswood pack about but their kicking and passing wasn’t quite good enough, and they were drawn inexorably into the type of game they wanted to avoid. The experienced ex-Maidstone pair of Sean Evans and Matt Iles knew exactly what they were doing, and it was no surprise when the powerful Iles crashed over at the end of the first half to extend the home lead, Dorman converting.

Vigo knew what they had to do in the second half and started off at pace. Still unable to escape the suffocating clutches of Lordswood’s pack, they nevertheless made inroads into home territory. The excellent referee, Mr. Delport, was right in the thick of the action as Lordswood gave away penalty after penalty in the face of constant Vigo pressure. Dave Winstone kicked one, then kicked a drop goal which sailed almost apologetically over the crossbar, to bring back the score to 14-12. In the mayhem, Lordswood were gradually losing players, THREE players shown yellow in the space of fifteen minutes. Vigo really should have taken advantage of their disarray, but still persisted in keeping the ball tight, their dangerous flyers on the wings, largely ignored. Lordswood couldn’t believe their luck, as they brilliantly slowed the game right down to eat up valuable minutes. Danny Baker, of course, smashed through the defence and in his wake came the ever improving Liam Wiltshire to finish off the move to snatch the lead for Vigo.

Almost immediately Lordswood were restored to their full complement, and with a fired up Sean Evans in the driving seat, they threw themselves at Vigo. Vigo were unable to resist, as Lordswood kept the ball in the sweaty grasp of their pack, steadily advancing down the pitch. Another catch and drive gave them field position, Evans crashing over to his obvious and vociferous delight. Vigo just could not resist, a sense of dispirit seeming to envelop the team. Lordswood simply played €˜keep ball’ for the remaining three minutes until a swirling mass of bodies went over the line, Sean Bones apparently at the bottom of the heap to finish of Vigo. Dorman’s conversion was the final act of the afternoon, one which Vigo would prefer to forget.

Man of the match: After this performance, it would have been invidious not to award it to a home player. Scaife and Evans were main contenders but Matt Iles was a tower of strength and experience especially when the home side were losing players to the sin bin with some regularity. For Vigo, their best player by some distance was flanker Robbie Hayes, with Danny Bakeroffering muscular support.

MOG’s view: I have to admire the way Lordswood resisted, especially when they were down to 12 men briefly. They have a lot of experience and that showed when they simply suffocated Vigo in the second half. Vigo are a relatively young side, and were sucked into an arm wrestling match which played right into Lordswood’s hands. Lordswood are a tough side, especially at home, their big players apparently unable to travel and one wonders where they would be in the table if they were able to play their first choice side at all times.

By Trevor Newnham

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