Villager FC succumbed to a far superior and hungrier SK Walmers side by 29 points to 17 in their WP Super League A fixture at Brookside on Saturday 16 May. The half time score was 14 – 3 in favour of the visitors.
The morning rain cleared up perfectly and in so doing creating ideal rugby conditions come late afternoon – no wind, not too hot or overcast. The day was set for another spectacle at the hallowed Brookside turf. With the Village boys coming off a 2 match losing streak the tension and apprehension could be felt before and during the game.
SK Walmers is always a tricky fixture with their mix of upfront grunt and speed on the outside, but the home side had a good week of preparation and had done their research for this particular encounter which both sides needed to win to get their respective seasons back on track.
Village started nervously with a few unforced errors that did not help their efforts of striking an early blow. These lapses in concentration allowed SK to dominate territory and possession which saw them exerting an extraordinary amount of pressure on the home teams line.
Village did well initially to soak this up and started to relax and get more into the game as they built the phases moving into the SK half. Their efforts paid off soon after when a penalty was awarded to Village and Dan Clarke had no problem in slotting it to give his side a 3 nil lead.
From the next kick off SK came back at Village hard. Producing good quick ruck ball they started to test the Villager outside backs. One of these offensive movements led to a neat break by one of their backs, on about the half way line, as he jinxed his way to scoring their first try. The conversion was made claiming a 7-3 lead.
As has been the case over the last few weeks, another errant grubber by one of the Villager players was dealt with by the SK fullback who made easy work of the home teams defence to score a relatively soft try in the opposite corner. With the conversion, SK moved into a worrisome 14-3 lead at half time which had the effect of unnerving the Brooksiders somewhat.
If Villager were to rest control of the match away from the visitors they would need to score first after the half time break, however with more unforced errors gifting the visitors a further two soft tries the home sides cause was nigh on impossible being 26 – 3 down with only 25 minutes remaining.
However being the type of team they are, the home side produced arguably their best 2nd half performance this year playing with pure determination and the guts required of a Villager man to come within a whisker of claiming an unlikely victory.
The massive pressure that Villager exerted on the visitors forced the referee to dish out 2 yellow cards for repeated infringements whilst feverishly defending their line. With a two-man advantage Villager scored 2 great tries through skipper Ashley Clarke from the base of a scrum and another from a 40m driving maul.
At 26-17 with 10 minutes to play the game was back on. However being the wily and astute team they are SK succeeded in slowing the game down completely thus preventing the home side side from capitalising on their new-found energy and momentum.With the home side desperately trying to re-capture their recent dominance conceding a penalty was always a possibility and with SK coolly claiming the 3 points on offer the game ended as an anti-climax for the Brookside faithful at 29 – 17 in favour of the visitors.
Even though Village lost this fixture at home it was commendable to see the pride and passion displayed toward the white jersey with the chips down. It was also great to see the enormous improvement in the Village lineout. We understand the forwards have been putting in extra work after practice to get this right – thanks and well done guys. It paid off.
Stuart Pattison was once again (second consecutive time) awarded the man-of-the match ball for another standout performance in the backs.
Villager thank SK Walmers for a great fixture and wishes them good luck in their future fixtures.
Tries: Payden Viviers, Ashley Clarke, Simon Greenwood
Conv: Daniel Clarke (1)