The first friendly of the season is always an eagerly anticipated event and this one against Rangers was no different. A great sign for Village was the fielding of a very similar squad to the one that finished off 2015. This continuity will bode well for the year ahead. After a thorough pre-season Village were raring to go. At home against Rangers, who suffered relegation to Super League C in 2015, was never going to be an easy feat.
From kickoff Villager dominated possession and territory but struggled to turn these early gains into points. Eventually the pressure told as fullback Andrew Jones-Davies collected a clever grubber through from centre Stu Pattison to dot down under the posts. Clarke converted.
Rangers then fought back as they sliced through the Villager defence with a well-executed move to finish off in the clubhouse corner. Conversion unconverted 7-5.
Villager piled on the pressure again with a series of pick and go’s and some neat and effective ball retention eventually finishing off with a final pick and go by Stu Pattison who bustled over. Clarke converted 14-5 and half time.
With Villager still dominating all facets, and notably the set pieces, they inexplicably allowed Rangers back into the game with a soft try in the corner shortly after half time. The kick went unconverted 14-10.
As the 2nd half wore on Rangers clearly started to tire faster than Village as the game opened up and at scrum time Rangers were walked over almost at will by the Village pack. This extreme pressure eventually told as a slick back line move was expertly finished off by wing Junaide Joseph. Scholtz missed the conversion 19-10.
Village were now in a rampant mood. This led to them continuing to drive the nail in the coffin as they pushed over their opponents from a 5m scrum with 8th man Kwaks Ngwanya finishing off at the back. Scholtz converted. 26-10.
With more opportunities on offer but unable to finish off the score could have been more favourable to the hosts as Rangers were clearly exhausted by the pace and intensity Village were displaying. In the last move of the game Rangers finally managed to get over and converted. 26-17 final score.
Standouts for Villager were Reece Gregg at flyhalf who marshaled and got his backline away masterfully as he ended up collecting the back line man of the match award and no. 7 Scotty Pitcher enjoying free reign as he put in a tireless effort in the loose and took the forward of the match.