And so it was with a degree of excitement and trepidation that the good ship FRC Vandal set out on its 8 month mission to explore strange new towns, seek out new teams and new rugby clubs and to boldly go where no man has gone before, well not since we were in this league for a couple of years ago. The new Captain Kirk is Richard Mason so all the best to him and where he leads the rest shall follow.
Episode 1 of season 17/18 saw the Vandals encounter the Clitheroes at The Woodlands so with the engines at warp factor 9 and phasers set to stun it was all systems go, as long as I wasn’t mistaken for the unknown team member whose sole reason for being on the pitch was to be taken out by the opposition. ‘Enough of the Star Trek references, get back to the rugby’ I hear you cry!
The EPD had been hailing on all frequencies to assemble the squad that gathered in the glorious sunshine for the season opener. Unfortunately, however, the new skipper was away so Tom Godfrey was asked to take on the role for the day. There were two new Vandals in the line-up with young Tom Ward on the right wing and the just a little bit older Tim Barrett at prop.
First to cross any try line were the visitors after a fairly sloppy start from the Vandals but their backs soon got things moving with Pete Acton touching down and Frazer Swindells adding the extras. Swindells junior was looking pretty sharp out wide and scored a great try after receiving the ball in his own half and outpacing his opposite number and the fullback to go under the posts. Highly illogically, Swindells senior was next to score after a solid scrum out on the right and with another two pointer the half finished 19-5 to the Vandals. During the first forty one of the Clitheroe forwards fell awkwardly and injured his shoulder so Tony Rawlinson gamely volunteered to don an opposition shirt and make up their numbers in the scrum. Cheers Rolo!
The second half was a fascinating session of rugby, with both teams swapping tries in fairly quick succession. From a lineout Richard Todd was bundled over the line to score a classic forwards try. Clitheroe cancelled that one out. Ben Hall and Iain Hollingsworth were the next beneficiaries of a couple of good plays from the Vandals but again Clitheroe bounced back with a try of their own and the scorer was none other than Rolo who put in a great shift for the visitors.
Jon Whitby was having a tremendous game from the flank and scored a well-deserved try but, yes you guessed it, Clitheroe scored another. This was to be their last. The Vandals however still had another try up their sleeve and it was the man of the match Frazer Swindells who bagged it. Unfortunately his kicking boots massively let him down in the second half although all tries were scored fairly wide out. So, with no extras added in the second stanza, the game finished 44-25 to the Vandals.
This was a very enjoyable game which both teams contributed to hugely. Clitheroe were a great bunch who played a committed game to the end. We wish them all the best for the season and look forward to the return fixture at the end of the season. Thanks to all the Vandals who turned out and got the season off to a winning start and thanks also to our loyal supporters who turn out come rain or shine. Next week sees the Vandals travelling to Blackburn to take on their thirds so let’s get the first away W there please. See you all for that and as someone used to say ‘live long and prosper!’
The team was: Richard Todd, Chris Cardwell, Tim Barrett, Mike Hewitson, Alex Grey, Jon Whitby, Damian King, Tom Godfrey (c), Phil Swindells, Jack Jones, Frazer Swindells, Iain Hollingsworth, Pete Acton, Tom Ward, Ben Hall, Tony Rawlinson, Adey Grey, Sean Townsend, Gary Andrews.
Playing EPD: Sean Townsend
Report: Phil Swindells
Photos: Sarah Swindells