Hampshire Bowl Cup final
By Glennis Mundell
The eagerly awaited final at Basingstoke!
The eagerly awaited final at Basingstoke was played today in testing conditions.
We eventually kicked off with the full compliment of players after Ben's 4 hour epic journey including two trips from Shorwell to fishbourne.
Vectis started off playing into the strong breeze and rain and things were fairly even for the first 10 minutes although we were certainly off the pace. This eventually showed as they used their two big lads to good effect and they scored twice in quick succession. Vectis struggled at scrum time also in this half and some missed tackles allowed Basingstoke a third. We were certainly under the pump for the Rest of the half but good defending and some faster line speed in defence forced errors and the score line stayed at 3-0 at half time and to be fair Basingstoke deserved their lead.
The half time team talk seemed to galvanise the boys, as did playing with the elements and the second half was a very different affair. Their big carriers were stopped by great tackling and we just generally upped our tempo all over the pitch.
Thomas C was becoming effective from his tap and goes and it was his power that brought the first score as he went over after a few pick and goes got us close. This lifted the lads again and a second was so posted as Edward sliced through a gap and touched down to bring the score to 3-2. The game was all Vectis at this point and the fantastic bench really put in an impact. Our fitness was good and we kept pushing for the third score. Edward went very close and our pack started dominating the ruck area as we pinned Basingstoke in their own half. However the final touches just didn't go our way and it was the last play of the game which sent the crowd, the coaches and the boys wild. Determined defence just outside our 22 saw a loose ball spill out. This was picked up by Edward who set off sprinting down the touch line, only to be hauled down just before the try line. Sam J had ran all the way from his wing in close support and collected the offload to dive over and seal the draw. The win was awarded to Basinstoke as they scored the first try.
We cannot express how proud the coaches were of the whole squad today as they left everything out there on the pitch, and showed how well they can play as a team and to come back from 3-0 was a huge achievement for this group of young men.
Thomas D, gave his all throughout the game and put in some great tackles against the big fella's. He is becoming a real powerhouse in this team.
Henry, an absolute nuisance to the opposition as he steals ball and runs great lines. His communication is so important to the team.
Hamish, one of the most flamboyant players on the field with his hair. Is making huge impacts on the games now and his rucking was vital in the tight quarters of the game.
Fred, our bfg although not so friendly to the opposition with his destructive carries and his commitment to the team, had a great game today.
Archie, great leadership today and put his all into the performance. Rucking was huge in the second half as was his energy around the pitch.
Rhys, again strong work defence as this was difficult conditions. Looking a lot fitter around the park and starting to get a bit more fiesty which is great.
Finn, one of our biggest improves these past months and starting to look at home in the second row. Great control of the ball in contact with his professional lay backs giving our scrum halves an easier ride.
Reuben, came off the bench with real zest today and will be a real handful next year in the loose. Put in a great hit on the jumping Basingstoke player!
Thomas C, dynamic all over the pitch today. Was a lot more effective in the second half today as he tapped and went with the wind and rain behind. Got the crucial first score to give us belief.
Theo, our pocket rocket put in another good shift today including a crucial tackle right in front of the coaches. Always difficult for scrum halves in wet weather but made it look effortless.
George, was instrumental when he came on and is obviously growing in confidence with each game. Is a very different scrum half and has real impact on the field. Took a big knock for the team today and showed what a team player he is.
Hugh, another good performance today including some lovely tackles on their powerful runners. Much better communication in our defensive line and it really paid dividends as Hugh leads this.
Archy, was marshalled well today by their strong defence but really showing more rugby awareness with each game. The defence was so much stronger and he put in some great tackles.
Edward, very elusive today and showed great fitness with the break after 50 minutes of play in heavy conditions. Defence was much better today as not a lot came through the centre channel, also Reuben owes him a coke for the tackle after the intercept!
Leo, really strong defence today twice snuffing out Attucks out wide. Also showed his footwork to dance around a few of the opposition in the first half Hugo, not his ideal conditions today for his fancy feet, but he dogged it out and tackled his heart out. Nearly got clear out wide in the first half in front of the coaches until good scramble defence got him.
Ben, had no ill effects after his epic travelling! Will be a real handful in the loose when we see his wheels, but growing into the team really well.
Andrew, Mr confident today as he reads the game so well. The cover was great today and his communication is so important in this team. Put in some vital tackles when needed.
Sam, proof that small is dangerous. He put the hit of the game in on a Basingstoke lad who broke free and was everywhere today. Showed his work ethic to sprint half the pitch in support and collect the final pass to score the final try.