The newest team at our club got its own league season off to the best possible start with a home win against West Suffolk College at Volac Park.
The Vipers, made up from players from various clubs across the region who are studying and training full time at the club, were keen to show what they were made of as the new boys in a league of well-established colleges. And they got off to a dream start scoring a try through Ryan Curtis, converted by Tom Powell, after just 5 minutes with some lovely handling and running.
It wasn’t to be all their way in the first half though and West Suffolk came back strongly with some big carries and soon found a dominance in both territory and possession. They worked the Vipers hard all over the field and deservedly went into half time 26-7 up.
With a mountain to climb in the second half, head coach Ben Penfold had some calm instructions and advice to give to the boys, who then started with a renewed energy that was missing for much of the first period.
The Vipers started to find their rhythm and quickly got themselves on the score sheet through Fraser Murray. They realised that the structures, that Ben and assistant coach Rob Conquest had instilled in the squad, were starting to create opportunities and they soon scored again. West Suffolk had no answer to the sharp attack of the Vipers and we soon drew level through tries from Jamari Dowdie-Wright and Billy Woodgate, with 10 minutes to go. As the clock counted down, the Vipers, through Billy again, scored and went into the lead for the first time since the very first few minutes and this time they weren’t going to let anything slip.
With time almost up, the Vipers won a penalty and, in a sign of maturity from the boys, they decided to try to stretch the lead to 10 points by kicking for goal. Tom Powell duly added the points, taking his own tally to 11 points with 5 kicks from 6, and they went on to see out the win. An incredible turnaround in the second half, scoring 29 unanswered points to win 36-26.
A great start for this bunch of lads and plenty more to come.