A performance to forget !
By Ian Geering
As this game could or should have been put to bed by half time. But credit must go to Vigo's will to win .
This match had all the hallmarks of a banana skin for the home side, with the visitors seeking revenge for their 36-14 home loss earlier in the season.
Vigo sitting fourth in the league have put several impressive results together in recent weeks, and started this encounter in robust fashion. In the tight Vigo put pressure on ‘Boro, like no other side this season, and in doing so dominated possession. With some exquisite three-quarter running lines, off loading and support play, it seemed only a matter of time before the visitors would break through to score.
However, although ‘Boro could not lay their hands on the ball, they were, too a man, clinical in their defence, so much so that they kept the Kent side penned in between the two ten metre lines for much of the opening quarter.
Against the run of play, it was ‘Boro who opened the score latching onto a loose Vigo pass with fifteen minutes gone, when Connor Hand
made a solid break that was met with an equally solid tackle. The ball was recycled by Tom West
who sent a long pass to Gary Stevens
who evaded the first defender before being brought down ten metres short of the line. The ‘Boro eight were quickly up and as the ball squirted out Andy Orchard
burst through the initial line of defence to score to the right of the posts with Connor Hand
adding the extra two points. 7-0
Vigo may have understandably felt somewhat aggrieved to be 7 points down, after putting in most of the hard work, but did not waver from their game plan and continued to do much the same thing, but now more clinically. Having come close to equalising but failing to break down the resolute ‘Boro defence, Vigo settled for a three point penalty as the game moved deep into the second quarter. 7-3
As the half drew to an end ‘Boro piled on the pressure , intent of extending the lead. A promising attack was agonisingly turned over in the visitors 22, but the clearance, failing to find touch, found Harry Marchesi
instead standing on his ten metre line. Sam Kisbee
had covered across and received the pass in the middle of the field. Looking up he saw an opportunity out wide on the right wing, just as Gary Stevens
spied the same mis-match. With the defence rapidly running out of cover Sam Kisbee
drew his defender to release Gary Stevens
with a one, to one run in for the line. Rounding the winger, and adding a hefty hand-off for good measure, he crashed over in the corner for the try which went unconverted. 12-3 HT
As the half resumed, Vigo did not revert to a plan B, but continued their tried and tested formula of the first half, that for the next forty minutes was to have ‘Boro on the rack throughout the second half.
With excellent ball retention by their forwards, and ground gained by their creative elusive backs, Vigo once more had ‘Boro in defence mode, and crossed the line on a couple of occasions only to be denied the score.
With obvious frustration setting in Crowborough started to concede penalty after penalty, with the official eventually sending Harrison Chapman
to the bin for a team offence. This seemed to open the flood gates to a series of penalties led inevitably to a well taken Vigo try by their #10 whose mazy run left several defenders in his wake as he placed the ball between the sticks before converting his own try. 12-10.
Crowborough then committed the cardinal sin of ignoring an easy three points that would have meant the visitors having to score a try to level the match, with the kick to touch being turned over at the lineout.
Indeed kicking, or the lack of it, proved a focal point of the second half , with Vigo placing several well weighted kicks behind the ‘Boro backs to set up attacks, whilst ‘Boro either aimlessly punted away possession or failed to kick when penned in their own 22.
With Vigo unable to break through the ‘Boro defence, or score an undisputed try, they were restricted to orchestrating a penalty as the clock ran down taking the score to 12-13, with ‘Boro now rueing their decision to eschew the penalty earlier in the half.
When the whistle went Vigo were clearly jubilant having overturned their defeat earlier in the season, and although ‘Boro earned a losing bonus point to take them eleven points clear, there are six sides below them, separated by only nine points, meaning that any more banana skins could be extremely painful!
Crowborough have a week off next Saturday and no doubt the coaches will be calling for additional training to iron out the inconsistencies that manifested themselves yesterday.