Vikings v Guernsey Match Preview (A) – 23/03/24

03/21/20240
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This weekend the Vikings make the long trip to Guernsey, the southwestern outpost of National 2 East, setting off by coach on Friday morning to Gatwick where they will continue their journey by plane.

The Channel Islanders have won nine and lie in eleventh place, a position they’ve occupied most of the season. With 49 points they are still, mathematically at least, at risk of relegation, so will be looking for a win over the Vikings to ease concerns. They have won once in their last four, but that includes creditable defeats against promotion challengers Barnes and Dorking; last week they lost 33 – 19 at Canterbury where the Vikings were beaten 41 – 12 seven days earlier. Like a lot of sides in this League they tend towards a forwards orientated game with a large mobile pack. Centre Ciaran McGann is their leading try scorer with 16, winger Ethan Smith next with ten. Another winger, Anthony Armstrong, has been in prolific try scoring form recently with five tries from seven matches since he returned to the side. McGann is also their goal kicker with 83 points from the tee. The statistics suggest the match is unlikely to be high scoring: the sides are the League’s two lowest points scorers and November’s Scottow game was a somewhat turgid low scoring affair finishing 14 – 22, a last minute try denying the Vikings a bonus point.

Niall Lear’s squad sees the return of Harry Langbridge from injury so Ross Magnus and Benji Hewitt are likely to return to their normal starting positions of centre and full back. In the forwards Henly Brightman is fit again meaning Callum Howe will probably start the match on the bench. Niall was encouraged by his young side’s performance last week against league leaders Esher commenting, “obviously we’ve a long way to go but it reflected the continuing improvement since the turn of the year. Guernsey presents another set of challenges but if we put in an eighty minute performance, cut out the basic errors and take our opportunities we can hopefully get a better result than we did in November.”

 

Paul Morse

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