Gillingham Anchorians v Vigo London & SE Division – London 3 South East, 15:00 26th Oct 2019

Vigo were the visitors to Darland Avenue on a wet and windy Saturday afternoon. Anchs took to the field in their new Brimstone Site Investigation (UXO) sponsored jerseys but the conditions, and a very competitive opposition, meant that things did not go their way from the start.

Vigo, with the wind and slope advantage in the first half, started well and looked to move the ball despite the conditions. When Anchs lost the ball around the half way line Vigo’s winger took advantage and scored an excellent solo try out wide. A well struck conversion extended the early lead to 7 points, but Vigo continued to attack as Anchs struggled to put their game together. The visitors soon capitalized on their superior possession and territory with a second converted try and then ex-Anchorians scrum half Craig Whitehead went over for Vigo’s third try which was again converted from out wide.

Not only were Vigo kicking their conversions in the difficult conditions but their open play kicks also kept Anchs under pressure. As half time was approaching Anchs slowly got back into the game and managed to retain possession after putting together a number of phases. They were finally rewarded when Dan Perry crashed over from close range but the conversion was missed by new fly half Brad Ford.

Trailing 5 – 21 at the break, Anchs turned around with the elements in their favour and quickly started to put pressure on the Vigo defence. After a series of kicks to the corner and drives from the lineout, Anchs moved the ball to the backs and chipped ahead for Jamie Stevens to race through and touch down. Brad Ford added the conversion to reduce the visitor’s lead to 9 points.

As the conditions worsened, Anchs continued to attack. Vigo were reduced to 14 men when they received a yellow card for persistent offside and Anchs capitalized when Mark Barfoot fed Jon Mann on the outside and he scored an unconverted try which brought Anchs within 4 points. As Anchs pushed for the win they camped inside the opposition 22, but Vigo dug deep and kept Anchs out. As full time approached Vigo fought their way out of their own half and were awarded a penalty which they converted. Despite looking to run out of defence, time ran out for the home side and Vigo held on for a 17 – 24 victory to maintain their 100% away record, leaving Anchs with just a losing bonus point from their first loss at Darland Avenue this season.

With no game next week, Anchs have 2 weeks to reflect on their slow start from which they were not able to recover. Despite possessing huge scoring potential throughout the side, Anchs have conceded too many points this season especially at the start of games, but still sit in 4th place in London 3 South East and can look forward to their next match away to Bromley on 9th November.

By Ian Brenton


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