St Jacques Vikings Mid-Season Review
Louvre entered into a new sponsorship agreement with the St Jacques Vikings at the beginning of the 2019/20 season; as we are now halfway through we thought we would catch up with them to see how they are getting on.
Life in the Raging Bull Shield was expected to be a big step up for St Jacques Vikings this season and in the early part of the season that proved to be the case.
The black and yellows kicked off their season against a tough Richmond side, who quickly showed their class as they brushed aside the Vikings 48-24, leaving them knowing they had work to do.
Their coach Ray Smart was not concerned, however, as what he had seen from his side proved that they had plenty in their locker and that they would develop that at this level.
Ray was recently nominated for the Channel Islands Sports Coach of the Year at the Sports Personality of Year Awards.
A frustrating loss to Bracknell followed, but what was key was that the Vikings showed improvement as Smart had predicted. Nevertheless, their first victory was an important milestone, and they secured this in October with an impressive comeback against Sutton & Epsom to win 24-36 after being 12 points down at half time.
A big test followed against the league leaders Bournemouth; for 60 minutes the Vikings looked like they could cause an upset as they produced an exceptional performance, but in the final quarter the game ran away from them and they ended up losing 48-11: a result that bitterly disappointed them but also showed what they are capable of, if only they could produce an 80-minute performance. A big learning curve for the side, but one which would stand them in good stead moving forwards.
The side continued to develop, their commitment to make improvements across all areas of the game now showing. This resulted in a first victory at home against Ealing Trailfinders Under 23s, before agonisingly losing a week later to Maidenhead by just a single point. Both were important lessons for St Jacques, particularly the one-point loss.
In their final game before Christmas, they lost to London Irish away in disappointing fashion, but this provided a catalyst for an improved performance against the same side in early January at home. On that occasion they produced a performance to be proud of, winning 29-25 to overturn the previous result. The Vikings then backed that up with a 27-21 victory over Sutton & Epsom at the KGV in late January to leave them well-poised in mid-table, and with aspirations to climb higher as they continue their development in the Raging Bull Shield.
Louvre’s own Tom Creed has enjoyed excellent form in the team this season.
Matthew Gilligan, Louvre Associate Director, said: “We are a proud sponsor of the club and they have our full support as we see the remainder of the season play out. We wish them the best of luck and look forward to seeing where they finish in the table and the development they will have achieved.”