Aldermaston 17-57 Henley Vikings

By David Lewis

After a four-week break due to waterlogged pitches, the Henley 3’s, the Vikings, under the Captaincy of Toby Stevens, were keen to get a game and maintain their 2nd place position in the league. With a handsome win at home against Aldermaston in early December, there was reasonable confidence for this penultimate game of the season.  But what lay ahead apart from the rugby was a mixture of sun, rain, and hail, which would serve to challenge the most determined team.

As has been the pattern for much of the season, the Vikings were quick to score within minutes, with No. 8 Charlie Thomas, going over to score the first, with an unconverted try. It was only minutes later that full-back Elliot Cryne, a new recruit this season, made his mark and added to the fast-scoring game.

Inevitably, Sam Grindey, the returning left wing to the squad, after a short break, made his first of what was to be a quartet of tries on the day.  Weather conditions continued to be a challenge and with another Grindey try, conversions remained elusive. However, following Grindey scoring again, fly-half, Gordon Kerins slotted one over.

It would be a mistake to believe that Henley was having all their own way.  Aldermaston’s defence was robust, and they did well with a solid pack, but it was their outside centre, Jack Vincent, who broke Henley’s lines and score a well-deserved try.

As half time approached, it was Grindey again, completing his hat-trick and with Kerin’s conversion, it was Henley who were comfortably ahead by 29 points to 5.

Aldermaston started well as the second half began and pressed upon Henley’s defence, resulting in two more tries and one conversion.  The game was clearly becoming more of a challenge for Henley, who started to lack cohesion and momentum. But it was Grindey as ever, romping home for his fourth try of the day, with a Kerins’ kick, that drove Henley forward. It needed the return to the field of Player/Head Coach, Luke Brewin to instil some order into the back line and, true to form, bagged his own try and his own prompt conversion.  At this point, Aldermaston were undone, and a fine try by Zack Mancey, with a Kerins’ conversion completed Henley’s scorers for the day bar a last-minute vent of frustration on Aldermaston’s line, which gifted Henley a penalty try.

It was a fine performance by Henley 3’s, with thirteen of their players having come up through Henley RFC itself and the whole starting back row involving flankers, Mike Aitken, Josh Butler and No 8 Charlie Thomas, all being only 19 years of age.  This was tempered by some of the older players now retiring, but this team offers so much for the future.

The final score was 57 points to 17 in Henley’s favour.

The final game of the season will be against Windsor, after the Easter break on the 6th April at home on the Main Pitch.  The Henley 3’s would welcome all to support this local derby.