Match Report – Vikings Vs Esher, 16th March 2024

03/17/20240

Vikings fall to league leaders 12-48

It was always going to be a hard game for the Vikings against  league leaders Esher but they acquitted themselves well in this 12-48 defeat.

Esher, as you would expect from a team coached by ex English wing forward Peter Winterbottom, were hard up front from the word go.  Driving fiercely, within 5 minutes Esher turned a tip tackle penalty on the Vikings 22 into a 7m line out.  From this, hooker Charles Crawley was driven over for a try.

Another penalty and 7m line out to Esher followed quickly.  The Vikings repulsed the forward drive this time but the ball was moved rapidly from side to side of the pitch for wing forward Harry Chamberlain to score.  Esher’s third try came in the 15th minute from centre Luke Peters and the Vikings were down 0-19 with less than one fifth of the match gone.

The Vikings had been under extreme pressure in this first quarter of an hour.  Little possession with very hard running forwards and backs to tackle.  However they held strong in the tackle and both lineout and tight scrum were holding up well.

Then came some more possession.  Territory followed and the Vikings began to press Esher’s line.  Finally, on 25 minutes a lineout was forced close to the Esher line.  A crafty short lineout move resulted in an unconverted try by Tim Weber.

Play settled down into stalemate.  Both sides running good ball into indomitable defence.  Then there was a bit of a disaster for the Vikings.  A Vikings penalty cleared into the Esher half failed to make touch.  The long Esher kick back went into touch just outside the Vikings’ 22.  A quick line out was snuffed out by the Esher follow up players and prop Moses Fakatou (who Esher’s Peter Winterbottom named as his star player) added to the excellent game he was having by scoring a try to make it 5-24 at halftime.

In the second half there were Esher tries for Pierre Thompson, James Botterill, a second for Moses Fakatou, and Dan Rowland with again two of the four converted by Sam Morley.

The first of these was three minutes into the second half as Esher pushed the Vikings back and Pierre Thompson, sniping from behind his large pack, scored.  The second went to good back play with substitute Dan Rowland finishing off.  The third was another strong forward drive giving Moses Fakatou his second.  The final one was a length of the field try scored by James Botterill.

An excellent try was the Vikings response to round off the game.  The ball was moved smoothly and rapidly across the backs, Dan Smith made a half break and offloaded to Harry Steward who showed great pace in outstripping the defence for a try converted by Ross Magnus leaving it 12-48 at the end.

After the match Director of Rugby Niall Lear awarded Lacons’ Player of the Match to Benji Hewitt for his contributions to both attack and defence.  He added “As a young team deep in relegation trouble the boys did well against the top team.  We could have been better but with four games left, only one of which is at home, we have to build for next season and that is what we are doing.”

All round a better game for the Vikings than their result at Esher earlier in the season.  They continue to show visible improvement since Christmas as they grow in stature and experience and should be able to pick up further points in their final four matches.  Albeit that only one of them, Wimbledon on 6th April, is at home.

Vikings: 15 Lucas Atherton, 14 Wesley McGuire, 13 Dan Smith(c), 12 Benji Hewitt, 11 Tawanda Kandemwa, 10 Ross Magnus, 9 Connor Dudley, 1 Tim Weber, 2 Ewan Kingdon, 3 Callum Howe, 4 Ethan Holmwood, 5 Hudson DeLucci, 6 Leo Langbridge, 7 Jobe Brooks, 8 Billy Tait.

Replacements: 16 Russell Arnold, 17 Mark McCall, 18 Isaac Atherton, 19 Harry Steward.

Substirutions: 45m Isaac Atherton for Leo Lagbridge, 52m Harry Steward for Wes McGuire, 56m Russel Arnold for Callum Howe & Mark McCall for Tim Weber, 77m Wes McGuire for Harry Steward

Scorers Tries: 25m Tim Weber, 36m Harry Steward Conversions: 36m Ross Magnus

Referee: Alex Powdrell

 

Richard Hewitt 07825156875

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