Vikings Match Preview v Dorking – 13/01/24

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The Vikings are on the road again this weekend travelling to Dorking, four M25 junctions and 25 miles further than last Saturday’s Tonbridge trip. They will be hoping to build on the improved performance they showed in the second half of last week’s heavy defeat. “We left four tries on the pitch last week,” commented Niall Lear, “we’re beginning to create opportunities now, we need to start taking them.” There are likely to be just a couple of changes to the squad with Russell Arnold and Tim Weber coming in and James Douglas expected to make his debut.

The Vikings face a daunting task. Dorking won the September encounter at Scottow Park 14 – 59, setting out their stall with three tries in the first eight minutes and running in nine overall, the highlight for the hosts two well taken tries by Wes McGuire. They are currently second in the league just three points off the top spot having lost only twice in their 14 matches, to league leaders Esher and third placed Bury St Edmunds. Favouring a running game, they average 38 points per match and have scored four or more tries in 11 of their games. Toby McRae’s 16 tries make him the league’s leading try scorer, indeed the winger was the country’s leading try scorer in senior rugby in 2023 with 42 in 26 matches. Centre Thomas Howe, who made over 50 Premiership appearances for Worcester and got a hattrick in September’s fixture, is fourth in the league’s list with 11 tries, whilst fly half/centre Henry Anscombe is the league’s third leading points scorer with 139, all but five from the kicking tee.

“It’s a huge challenge,” said Niall. “Dorking have the best back division in the league and a quality back row. Training this week has, as always, been positive and we’ll give it our best shot and hope to show how we’ve improved since the start of the season.”

Meanwhile the Raiders also have a challenging match, home to league leaders Shelford 2nds. Kick off is at 2.00pm.

Paul Morse

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