Match Report – Vikings Vs Guernsey Raiders, 23rd March 2024

03/24/20240

Vikings fall 41-28 at the last to Guernsey Raiders

Match events related to Richard Hewitt by Simon Locke.

It was a tortuous journey. Leaving Scottow at 10.00 on Friday the team, coaches and supporters arrived in Guernsey late on Friday afternoon to be greeted by rain, sleet and hail. They were expected to get back to Scottow about 16.00 on Sunday!! Long after I am writing this.

From the kick-off a very wet pitch due to the rain, sleet and hail (interspersed with bright sunshine) caused numerous handling errors in the early phases of play. It was immediately noticeable that the Guernsey pack significantly outweighed the Vikings as well as being significantly taller. This weight and height advantage made its mark on the game.

On quarter of an hour the Guernsey Raiders pack secured one of many scrum penalties and drove up for a 5m scrum from which they scored a pushover maul try.

The second quarter saw Jobe Brooks break clear from halfway, offloading to Connor Dudley who passed on to Tawanda Kandemwa. He raced in to even the scores 7-7. Within 5 minutes the Guernsey were back in front 12-7 with a well crafted backs move for a try.

On the half hour the Guernsey backs were clear again but Wes McGuire snuffed out the move with a kamikaze try saving tackle. Almost immediately Brooks broke clear on halfway again, offloading for Dan Smith to take the Vikings 12-14 ahead.

The end of the half saw two unconverted Guernsey’ tries for a half time 22-14 scoreline. The first was another scrum penalty converted into a five metre lineout which was driven over. The second a classic wing try.

The second half started in a midfield stalemate. Then, again, after about quarter of an hour another scrum penalty went to touch for a Guernsey lineout catch and drive try.

Halfway through the second half saw what the travelling support was the Vikings’ best try of the season. Five metres out from their own line they stole the ball. Kandemwa made 60m before offloading to Dudley. The ball made its way back through Kandemwa to Smith who scored.

With ten minutes left the Guernsey extended their lead to 34-21 from a lineout catch and drive from the 22m line.

As the clock started to tick down Dudley took a quick penalty at halfway, offloaded to Director of Rugby Nial Lear’s Lacons Brewery man of the match Kandemwa who unselfishly gave the ball back to Dudley for the try.

Having gained a try bonus point and being 34-28 behind the Vikings supporters could smell the possibility of a win. Unfortunately the restart was mishandled and gave Guernsey a last try. So the Vikings lost 41-28.

At the end DoR Lear said “I am quite happy, there were a few mistakes but I am proud of the boys. They played well.”

The match could have been won in the dying minutes but even the losing bonus point was cruelly snatched from them.

A fixture which confirmed Niall Lear’s and his coaching team’s continuing improvement of the Vikings squad from the player losses they were confronted with last summer.

Unfortunately relegation now looks a mathematical certainty. However I am sure that if the core of this young, enthusiastic squad (and their coaches) can be mainly held together over the summer it will not be like it was last time the Vikings dropped out of level 4. I am sure they will prosper at level 5 and we will see regular winning rugby return to “Fortress” Scottow Park next season.

Sadly several of the players could well have played their last match for the Vikings this season and will be sorely missed in the last three games. The ones I know of include the Langbridge brothers, soon to return to their native Australia. Ross Magnus also soon departs to the Antipodes for a year and Billy Tait for a shorter period. The supporters hope to see those who can return in the fullness of time.

Vikings: 15 Benji Hewitt, 14 Wesley McGuire, 13 Dan Smith(c), 12 Ross Magnus, 11 Tawanda Kandemwa, 10 Harry Langbridge, 9 Connor Dudley, 1 Tim Weber, 2 Ewan Kingdon, 3 Henly Brightman, 4 Hudson DeLucci, 5 Ethan Holmwood, 6 Leo Langbridge, 7 Jobe Brooks, 8 Billy Tait.
Replacements: 16 Callum Howe, 17 Mark McCall, 18 Danny Whittred, 19 Lucas Atherton 20 Harry Steward.

Substitutions: 54m Callum Howe for Tim Weber & Lucas Atherton for Wes McGuire, 58m Dan Whittred for Hudson DeLucchi, 67m Mark McCall for Henly Brightman, Hudson DeLucchi for Ethan Holmwood, 77m Tim Weber for Jobe Brooks, 79m Jobe Brooks for Leo Langbridge, 80m Harry Steward for Benji Hewitt

Scorers Tries: 22m Tawanda Kandemwa, 33m & 62m Dan Smith, 78m Connor Dudley

Conversions: 23m, 34m, 63m Harry Langbridge, 78m Ross Magnus

Referee: Jack Sutton

Richard Hewitt 07825156875

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