Ruislip 29 Vikings 41 Report from Paul Morse
Coach Brooks pleased with win over difficult opposition
The Vikings made it six wins from seven with this deserved victory over a side determined to atone for their heavy October defeat at Scottow. 24 - 9 ahead five minutes after halftime, it looked as if they could be heading for a comfortable win but that scoreline was as comfortable as it got. Thereafter points piled up for both sides and with five minutes left it was 34 -29, before the visitors clinically closed out the game.
Stuart Pearham kicked a second minute penalty for Ruislip but the Vikings soon imposed themselves with some quick recycling, crisp passing and direct running. Ruislip's lead lasted three minutes, Josh Brown racing over from thirty metres; James Knight then showed his pace with a searing sixty metre run to put Mike Hendry in. Pearham kicked another penalty before Brown got his second following a trademark run by Will Hodgson, playing this week at number eight, and a great pass out of the tackle from Acky Downing. Matt Hodgson converted before another Pearham penalty kicked made it 17 - 9 at the end of the first quarter; the Vikings' indiscipline, the match penalty count ratio was 3:1, was keeping Ruislip in it.
The second quarter was fairly turgid and error strewn as the Vikings lost their cutting edge and their opponents began to show some resolve. As halftime approached the Vikings' scrum was struggling and twice they lost their own lineouts. Ruislip ended the half in the ascendancy; just before the break Jordan Mustard did well to get back and prevent a try.
James Brooks put on all his substitutes - Harry Downing Jake Duffield, Jonny Masters - for the second half. This half was a defence coach's nightmare with the longest gap between scores seven minutes. Six tries came in the first thirty minutes, each team scoring alternately. Playing down the slope the momentum seemed to be with Ruislip but after every score the Vikings, showing again great resilience and self belief, bounced back with one of their own. The contrast in styles was marked: Ruislip grinding forwards through their pack, the visitors attacking from deep with expansive passing movements.
The visitors struck first. Will Hodgson broke through on halfway, Knight surged on and Jono Lawson went over; Matt Hodgson converted. Ruislip replied with a Dan O'Kane try before Chris Godwin scored after major contributions from Will Hodgson and Harry Downing. Back came Ruislip, Seremaia Malawakula's converted try making it 29 - 21 with a quarter left.
Five minutes on a Hendry try extended the lead, Knight again featuring in the build up. Sam Hainsworth then scored for the hosts and, with five minutes left, Ruislip sensed a famous comeback as Pearham's penalty closed the gap to five. The Vikings showed though they know how to win tight games: despite having Masters yellow carded, they penned Ruislip back before Chalk Hill Brewery Man of the Match Hendry completed his hat trick, Duffield converting.
This win, outscoring their opponents seven tries to three, was no mean feat: Ruislip have won three of their last six and defeated sides to whom the Vikings have lost. "We knew this would be difficult " said Brooks, "but we stuck to the task. We weren't as clinical as we would have liked but you have to be pleased at scoring forty one points against such determined opponents."
Team: 15.Josh Brown 14.Ethan Benney13.Mike Hendry12.James Knight
11.Jordan Mustard10.Matt Hodgson9.Mike Braans1.Acky Downing
2.Tom Browes 3Tim Weber 4.Jono Lawson5.Ryan Oakes6.Ed Sampson
7 Chris Godwin8.Will Hodgson.
Jonny Masters/ Weber (half time)
Jake Duffield/ Braans (half time)
Harry Downing/ Benney (half time)
Weber/ Will Hodgson (63 mins)
Will Hodgson/ Sampson (76 mins)
Sampson/ Will Hodgson (79 mins)
Tries: Brown (2); Hendry (3); Lawson; Godwin
Conversions: Matt Hodgson (2); Duffield
Yellow Cards: Masters
Referee: Josh Burgess (Leicestershire)