Victorious Vipers celebrate a first trophy with Vase triumph
Luton Vipers won their first piece of silverware since reforming as they swept aside Hemel Stags A 76-10 to capture the East RL Vase in front of a bumper crowd at Pennine Way on Saturday.
The game was the curtain raiser for the East RL finals, which saw the Stags also lose the Shield Final to North Herts Crusaders, with Bedford Tigers sweeping aside St Albans Centurions to claim back-to-back cup final victories.
Despite the heavy scoreline, it was Stags who took the lead, after their fleet-footed half back danced his way through to dot down out wide to make it 4-0.
However, with two quick fire tries from Tom Winch and Will Bennett, the game began to swing into the Vipers favour.
Hemel added a further try in the first half, this time converted, but that would be the end of their scoring as the Vipers found form to run in a further 12 tries and firmly get both hands on the Vase.
Scorers for the Vipers included a hat-trick for cannonball centre Callum Strachan, a double for half backs Alex Hill and Ieuan-Rhys Beal who also scooped the man of the match award too.
Trevor Hibbert went over, as did Tom Williams scoring his first for the club, while Yousef Richards bagged a brace and brother Shakeel Richards ran in a scintillating 70 metre score on his debut.
Captain Matt Jones added 16 points from the boot.
Notable performances for the Vipers came from front row duo Jake Barnes and Williams who barrelled their way through defenders and showed a slight of hand to get offloads away, despite the attention of two to three opponents.
Richards once again displayed his class with big carries, and the development of his passing game is another string to his ever growing bow.
Centre Strachan put in a bullish performance, to dominate his opposite number throughout, forming a strong partnership with Jones, who once again lead strongly and played well off of his halves.
Head coach Beal said: “We spoke after the MK result the previous week, and as a squad we knew we could play better.
“Matt (Jones) did a great job in getting the boys together and I am so proud that we have got our hands on some silverware in our relaunch season.
“Credit has to go to Hemel, who despite the heavy scoreline didn’t give up until the final whistle and were gracious in defeat.
“It was great to see the lads playing fast, enjoyable RL, and remove those restraints of structure which we have been guilty of.
“We move on to MK again this weekend, and we know we need to raise our game even more if we are to get a result there, but this result will be a major boost to the squad.”
The Vipers weekend was made even sweeter as the U15s brushed aside Bedford Tigers 56-0 at Stockwood Park RFC on Sunday in front of head coach Beal.
was present for the game and was full of praise for the
young, inexperienced Viper team.