Eastleigh Semi Finals
By Glennis Mundell
Bring on the Finals!
Vectis made the trip over to Eastleigh with hopes high, although dented by the late withdrawals of Theo, with an injury and Harry, due to illness. Things did not improve as we learnt that we could be without Hamish due to a ferry mishap.
We started brightly enough in the tough muddy conditions but struggled for a while with our rucking which meant we kept turning over ball. However a good break by Ben out in in a good area of the pitch and after some good picks and go by the forwards, Henry used his power to barge over.
Momentary lapses in concentration and several missed tackles allowed their big fullback to show a clean pair of heels to bring the game back to 5-5. This gave Eastleigh confidence and they got the ball outside for their very pacey winger to storm down the touch line to go into a 10-5 lead.
We went back strongly and Thomas Cole barrelled through a few of the opposition and touched down so the half time score was 10-10 and all to play for in the second half.
By this time George who played the whole game at scrum half was getting good secure ball,mainly to the tireless work of the forwards Archie, Reuben, Rhys, Henry, Thomas Cole and Thomas Damp, Fred, Finn and Hamish (whom we can thank his parents for getting him there as he was immense when he took the field) This good possession meant we played the next 15 minutes deep in Eastleigh's half and this led to Archy powering through for a score, quickly followed by a fleet footed Thomas Cole who grabbed his second. This put Vectis at a 20-10 score line as we started to dominate proceeding, this allowed another good move enabling Edward to show his strength to scythe through and get the final Vectis score. At 25-10 we really should of closed the game out but to Eastleigh's credit they came back really strongly and scored twice out wide to bring the game to 25-20. The last play of the game was from a scrum which Eastleigh got penalised for feeding allowing a grateful Edward to kick the ball into touch much to the relief of the parents and coaching staff!
Credit must go to the whole team, and parents who supporting in tough conditions and to the Eastleigh set up who hosted us so well and were gracious in defeat, as they wished us well for the final in 3 weeks time.
Fred, another strong outing and oh so solid in the scrum. Leading all over the pitch which is great so see.
Henry, good kicking restarts today, and got the crucial first score with raw power. Really important part of our scrum.
Hamish, was important he made it today as he made his presence felt with some great tackling and rucking, really played well today.
Thomas Damp, becoming a real handful in the loose and nearly got a score today with a valiant charge for the line.
Reuben, really listening to the coaches now and doing exactly what we know he can do. destructive with the ball and absolutely shows no mercy when he clears out the rucks.
Rhys, much more dynamic today with some great carries and strong tackles. Fitness improving week on week and is one of the cornerstones of our front five.
Archie, a dynamo today as he played several positions really well, his rucking is second to none and his work rate today was excellent.
Finn, his best performance today by far, looked very comfortable in the second row which bodes well for next year, really held the ball well today and by far still the best presenter of a rugby ball once tackled.
Thomas Cole, our pack leader lead from the front today with some great tackles and carries. got on the score sheet twice with powerful bursts and one even included a pirouette!
George, man of the match today for his excellent performance. Played the whole game at nine today which showed good fitness and his passing was spot on all game.
Hugh, great feet today in heavy conditions today put us on the front foot more often than not. Much better game awareness with good passing to the next man out, some excellent tackles too shows how important he is to the team.
Archy, much better overall game awareness as he learns with every week. Strong carries again and good support got him another score today.
Edward, captained well today and alongside Archy looked after the big fella successfully. Showed great feet and strength to get the 5th score.
Leo, put in some good tackles today, and now looking much more confident in the wider channels, great to see his line speed too.
Hugo, not ideal conditions for our side stepping supremo, but coped well with everything Eastleigh threw at him.
Andrew, ever dependable at fullback again and did really well in difficult conditions. Adds confidence to our back line and communicates so well.
Ben, has a real turn of pace, and nearly got in for a score on the left touch line. Another new face this year and I am confident he will be a handful in games to come as he learns the game