HASTINGS Valley Vikings beat the Port Pirates and gained the first bragging rights of the new Mid North Coast Rugby season at Stuart Park on Saturday.
The Vikings invaded Pirates’ headquarters and were too strong in round one, winning 22-12.
Pirates crossed the line late in the contest to give the scoreline some respectability. It was 22-5 as the match wound down.
The Vikings’ forward strength allowed the backs to shine.
Tom Sheaves scored two tries on the wing. Open side flanker Dave Kearsey and centre turned winger Dan Willougby joined him on the scoresheet.
Waylon Skipps had a tough first day out with the boot, kicking one from six.
Another injury soured the Vikings’ win. Derek Brennan tore his hamstring and the team’s coach Andrew Kable said it didn’t look good.
Brennan will find out more about the damage this week.
“It’s pretty disappointing for him,” Kable said. “Now we’ve lost two first grade wingers in two games.”
The other injury Kable referred to was James Terrett, who hurt a foot in the pre-season.
Former Port City Breaker Josh Hyde got plenty of time at fullback on Saturday in his first competition turnout for Vikings.
Andrew West led well as captain at inside and outside centre.
Skipps had time at fullback and five eighth, and performed well.
Kable was particularly pleased with his team’s aggression in defence. The Vikings coped well when the Pirates had long periods of possession.
Halfback Adam McCormack was instrumental in directing the bigger men around the park.
“He organised the forwards well,” Kable said.
Pirates’ publicity officer and ex-president Steve Shields said he thought the scoreline was flattering for the hosts.
“They were good all round,” he said. “Once their backs got outside of us, they were good to watch.
“There’s plenty of room for improvement for us.” Kable said his team could improve too, but that’s to be expected so early in the season.
“We have plenty to work on,” he said.
The Vikings play their first home match of the season next Saturday against Southern Cross University.
Kable praised his next opposition.
“They never lie down,” he said. “While we play to win, we never go out expecting to win.”
Pirates will host Coffs Harbour in their second match.