Vikings Take Grip On Minor Semi With Grinding Win

MatchReportIn a grinding defense oriented match Vikings have all but booked a spot in the Minor Semi-Final with a 32 – 17 victory over Tech Waratahs. With Shamrocks registering a bonus point 59 – 14 win over Kiama, the Rocks remain four points adrift in the race for the finals with one match left to play. Big wins this week to both Bowral and University has the Blacks and the Bulls on equal competition points in second spot behind Avondale. Bowral and Uni meet next week at Eridge Park in the final round with the winner to meet Avondale in the Major Semi-Final a week later, and the loser to qualify for the Minor Semi.

The Vikings, home game against Tech Waratahs started slowly with both sides struggling to build any momentum in attack until a scintillating try to Tahs winger Joshua Head in the fifteenth minute of play. The try that will rate as one of the tries of the year saw the wingman get outside the first line of defense with sheer pace from sixty meters out and with a big in and away and a goose step, he left several Viking cover defenders clutching at air as he scored in the clubhouse corner.

Minutes later livewire Vikings halfback Tom Sawden created an opportunity for front rower Felise Seukeni as the big prop barged over from close range. Sawden converted the try at a second attempt following an early charge from Tech Tahs players and Vikings hit the lead 7 – 5 after twenty minutes.

Joshua Head was in the match again ten from the break after a dour defensive period of rugby when Sawden exploded close to the Tahs line falling just short to a strong tackle from the wingman. Head was slow to release the halfback after the tackle and received the first of the matches three Yellow Cards, sitting out the rest of the half and some more.

Vikings Fly-Half Michael Ashby was involving himself in much of Vikings attack creating several opportunities for his outside backs. One such play saw big center Liam Antrobus charge away from the defensive line finding Dane Nethery in support as the busy Flanker crossed for the Blueys second try. Sawden missed the conversion and Vikings went to the break 12 – 5 up.

The Vikings coaching staff sparked a more spirited approach from the Blueys after the break, but an intense defensive effort from Tech kept their line intact. The Blueys were held up over the line twice in the opening minutes of the half with Flanker Thomas Clarridge and then No.8 Josh Heggie both unable to ground the ball. Vikings also lost Sawden to a Yellow Card at the forty ninth minute for descent. Vikings settled for a penalty goal to Fullback Jason Reid during the half-backs absence as the Tech defense held firm.

Shortly after Sawdens return Ashby made half a break and found Paul Henshaw in support, as the big center made good the thirty meters to the line with a strong run to score. With Sawden missing the conversion in blustery conditions the Blueys now led 20 – 5 after sixty two minutes.

Minutes later after some scrappy play in the Vikings quarter, Tahs center Vincent Wise forced his way through the defensive line to score and raise the hopes of a win for the Tahs faithful. The try was converted by Head and the margin to Vikings was 20 – 12 with fifteen left.

Once again from a play started by Ashby, Henshaw crossed for his second five pointer with a strong run from ten out leaving four defenders in his wake. With the try converted by Sawden the Blueys were up 27 - 12. The hard running of the Viking back rowers, Jack Hobbs, Clarridge and Heggie was taking its toll on the Tahs defensive effort. With Tahs winger Logan Brailey also Yellow Carded with less than ten to go the Tahs were forced to play the rest of the match shorthanded.  

With Tech struggling to clear their line with five minutes left, Sawden pounced on a loose ball and scurried over for the Blueys’ final try. Busy Tech Tahs Lock Michael Neil scored a final minute try for his side to bring up the final score line.

Vikings effort was based on hard running from forwards Hobbs, Clarridge and Heggie, with Dane Nethery once again busy throughout in both attack and defense and at the breakdown. Michael Ashby’s excellent run of form continues with hard running centers Antrobus and Henshaw taking full advantage of the Fly-Halfs efforts.

Tech Tahs for the most part met what the Vikings forwards threw at them with Neil and fellow back rowers David McConnell, Michael Bruton, and Bryn Edwards prominent. Halfs Mininder Singh and Patrick Logan worked hard to spark the Tahs attack with Joshua Head and Fullback Aisake Tuevu also busy.

Vikings 32 (Paul Henshaw 2 tries, Felise Seukeni 1 try, Dane Nethery 1 try, Tom Sawden 1 try, 2 goals, Jason Reid 1 penalty goal)

Tech Waratahs 17 (Vincent Wise 1 try, Michael Neil 1 try, Joshua Head 1 try, 1 goal)

Other Match Results

Bowral 43 Def Camden 0

Avondale 43 Def Shoalhaven 22

University 52 Def Campbelltown 5

Shamrocks 59 Def Kiama 14

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