Ventnor RFC 1XV 24-22 Old Gravesendians RFC November 1994 Match Report
As has been an otter the case this season it was the Ventnor forwards who provided the plat- form for this victory with a magnificent display of scrummaging and rucking.
The Islanders took the early initiative with Dave Martin converting a penalty from 30 yards out after Old Gravesendians had been caught offside.
Ventnor enjoyed the majority of possession in the opening half-hour as their pack gained the upper hand in the loose.
The Islanders were rewarded with a try after 20 minutes when inside centre. Leighton Bryant powered over from ten yards. after the Ventnor pack had won good second phase ball
Martin converted and added a penalty shortly after- wards when again Gravesend were penalised or being offside.
The Kent side gradually settled down and began to look dangerous whenever their three- quarters were given the ball. However, it was a gift from Ventnor which created the first opening for the visitors.
From a scrum five yards from the Ventnor line, scrum-half Ian Mudge misjudged a backpass to full-back Martin, with the Old Gravesendans scrum-half pouncing on the loose ball to score under the posts.
It was an unfortunate mistake from Mudge, who otherwise had an outstanding game. Gravesend converted the try. Martin, who was in good kicking form added another penalty just before the interval to give Ventnor a 16-7 lead at half-time.
Old Gravesendians had the better of the early exchanges in the second half as they searched to reduce the deficit.
They were rewarded with a try when quick ball in the Gravesend backs created the overlap for their left wing to score in the corner.
The clear game plan for Ventnor was to keep the ball wrapped-up in the forwards.
It was a plan that worked well with the tight five of Payn, Englegart, M. Champion, Davy and Wheeler proving to be a formidable force.
The Islanders gave themselves extra breathing space when after a period of pressure Steve Champion went over for a push over try from a five-yard scrum.
Both sides then exchanged a penalty apiece before, with only ten minutes remaining. Old Gravesendians reduced the deficit to just two points.
A well worked back move put their outside centre in for a converted try.
In the nail-biting finale Ventnor held out to secure an historic win for the club and a place in the last 32 of the Pilkington Shield.