Goole Vikings v Dearne Valley Bulldogs
Rugby League returned to Goole’s VPG last Saturday with a high intensity Yorkshire Mens League Division 5 match against Dearne Valley Bulldogs of Barnsley. Prior to the main event, there was a carnival atmosphere for the 350 spectators as the ground was filled with a beer tent, BBQ, bouncy castle, food stalls, ice cream van and Captain America making an appearance.
The Junior Vikings also debuted their new kit as a curtain raiser and showed off their skills with practise matches in preparation for their 2022 season in the Junior Midlands League. The first match of the season was also the first since the club launched their Community Links Project which involves a different cause been chosen to feature at each home match. The first match was dedicated to Leo Norton and his efforts to raise money to purchase specialist medical equipment which will help him mange his Tonic Clonic Epilepsy. The day raised £203.30 to add to his total and Leo was also asked to present the match ball which marked the ceremonial start to the game.
Jacob Scales, Will Jordan and local youngster Ben Cooper came into the matchday 18 to make their debut for the Vikings in what was expected to be a highly physical game against a large and experienced Dearne Valley side. It was the new look Goole Vikings who made an impressive early start however as Dearne Valley literally didn’t know what hit them with Goole’s much improved physical defence showing an aggression that had been missing in 2021.
The Vikings’ offensive stance seemed to startle the Bulldogs as Scott Birch bundled himself over the line in front of the sticks with the conversion duly kicked by George Waterson meaning Goole lead 6-0 after only five minutes of play. This set the trend with Dearne Valley struggling to spend any time in the Goole half. The Vikings capitalised on tired opposition legs and played interchange Danny Cook for a close range try after 20 minutes. Again, the kick was expertly taken by Waterson to leave the Vikings 12-0 up and looking hungry for more. Indeed, the Vikings could have and maybe should have gone into the dressing rooms at half time with a much more sizeable lead with Marcus Darley flying down the wing only to be held up short and Matty Perry caught in two minds during a 3 in 1 situation and sadly choosing a forward pass.
With this being Goole’s first match in over seven months, a degree of rustiness was to be expected. With the away side only two tries away from levelling the score, Goole came out in the second half with the same intensity and purpose. After only two minutes of play, fine interchange between Will Jordan and Dave Backhouse saw the veteran run unopposed over the try line. The referee however, deemed the pass forward much to the home side’s frustration.
After only five minutes played in the second half, a tiring and frustrated Bulldogs defence couldn’t handle a Marcus Darley sidestep and instead hit him with a dangerous high tackle which sent the young winger to the ground. External medical assistance was required for the ever-present Goole player and with a waiting time of up to two hours for an ambulance, the game had to be abandoned at 12-0 to Goole.
All at Goole Vikings are pleased to be to confirm that Darley was released from hospital early Saturday evening and will return to play after a short recovery. Matchday sponsors Jordan Development and Backhouse Bins & Gates chose debutant Jacob Scales as Man of the Match for his tireless and aggressive defensive display. Despite the disappointment of having the match abandoned, Goole can take massive pride in the improvement shown. If performances remain of this standard, the Vikings will surely be title contenders come the season’s end in September. The club would like to thank all the local businesses and Community Partners who have shown their support, everyone who attended the event, the Junior Vikings for making the day such a fantastic event, and Casseldens for sponsoring the match ball.
Due to pitch maintenance, the Goole Vikings’ next home fixture is not until June 11, but Saturday 30 sees the Vikings travel to Normanton Knights in the League Cup. Follow the Vikings on social media for more information on fixtures, how to get involved and all the latest news. #UTV
Pictured are the junior Vikings show off their skills. (28-04-750 SU)