Almost 10 months since the first meeting of the then prospective Alderney Rugby Club, the Ridunians flew over to Guernsey, on a charter flight, last Saturday to take part in their first ever 15 a side game.
Ostensibly this was to be a match against a St Jacques development side but upon arrival at the King George V ground it soon became evident that the side warming up to play the match was the Vikings 1st 15 who, having gone through the season unbeaten in winning their league, had found a gap in their fixture list.
Following late withdrawals from the Alderney squad, due to illness and other commitments, the Ridunians were grateful for the assistance of five St Jacques veterans and the Captain of Casual AF, who had played in the home game last year, who bolstered the side. The players had little opportunity to get to know each other or discuss a game plan but, undaunted, took the field to receive the kick off from St Jacques. Almost from the start, the pattern of the game became apparent. The Vikings, a much bigger side than Alderney, were very well drilled and as soon as they took possession of the ball Alderney were under pressure. Within the first few minutes Alderney were saved on three occasions only by the Vikings backs knocking on when a score seemed certain. The relief was short lived, however, as every scrum saw the inexperienced Alderney pack, facing contested scrums for the first time, driven back. Inevitably, without any possession, the spirited Alderney defence was breached. Despite tackling like Trojans, Ridunians had no answer to the very organised back division of their opponents and conceded six tries to end the half losing 36-0. Some encouragement was given by locals who were impressed that Vikings were unable to break through the middle of the defence and all the tries were scored out wide.
Vikings came out for the second half having been instructed not to ease off and a long 40 minutes seemed in prospect for Alderney. The pattern of the second half continued as per the first half – with Alderney not enjoying much in the way of possession and tackling for all they were worth. In the face of the defensive effort, St Jacques could only manage one further score, shortly after the restart, and the game ended 43-0. In fact at one point it looked like Alderney might score as Jordan Shaw broke clear, only to put a foot in touch with the line beckoning.
Despite the scoreline, head coach Harry Symington was upbeat after the match and took a lot of positive encouragement from how the side responded to the game, citing ”the 100% effort from everyone and how the fitness training had allowed the boys to keep going for the full 80minutes. The boys learned several lessons today and training will reflect this in the run up to the next game on March 23rd away at Jersey Royals. Scrummaging will be a big area to concentrate on but now, thanks to generous sponsorship, the club has a scrum machine which will vastly help technique”.
David Martinik was awarded the Alderney Man of the Match, which was sponsored by the Campania.