Ventnor’s seconds hosted Isle of Wight II at Rew Valley Sports Centre in a league match for local bragging rights, sponsored by TF Property Solutions and Howdens Joinery.
The match started with an exchange of penalties, with Island drawing ahead and Ventnor full-back Riches equalising. The two sides set about testing each other in an exchange of kicks but Ventnor looked stronger in contact. Flanker Rob Palmer then took the initiative, breaking through tackles to run in Ventnor’s first try, converted by Riches, to put the hosts 10-3 ahead.
The signalled a period of domination for Ventnor, with their big pack in ascendancy and the Island defence looking rattled. Ventnor repeatedly hit the IOW line, with Ben Savill powering through to earn a try, which was quickly followed by another from the excellent Palmer, both being converted by Riches.
Ventnor gave IOW no time to recover as half-time was approaching, playing with an intensity the visitors found hard to answer. Ventnor continued to pile on the misery for the Island, pushing Island scrums off their own ball and hurting the Island at the breakdown to win turnovers. Ventnor capitalised on their dominance, earning two tries from Pratt and Jackson before the break, putting them 34-3 ahead of a faltering IOW side.
The second half started slowly for Ventnor, with IOW looking much more focussed than they had in the first period. The visitors seemed to have patched up their defence and surprised Ventnor with a well-worked try to give the squad some confidence. IOW kept the initiative, their style far removed from their first-half shambles, and put another score on the board to bring them to 34-15.
Ventnor tried to contain a transformed Island team, and managed to keep possession for long enough to put winger Tom Monks over, with Riches converting for a score of 41-15. However, tempers were flaring over between the rivals and Ventnor soon found themselves playing with 14 men following a yellow card for a late hit.
IOW made the most of Ventnor’s misfortune to run over another two tries, giving the visitors some hope with a score of 41-25. However, Ventnor rediscovered their form to punish IOW in the scrum and set-piece, and Wightlink Man of the Match Rob Palmer went over the Island line for his third try of the game. Winger Tom Monks got involved, outpacing the Island defence to go over in the corner for a try with five minutes to go. This prompted an ill-tempered outburst from an Island player to the referee, attracting a red card in the process.
Ventnor played out the remaining time with the ball up-front, and an aching team emerged at full-time proud of a 53-25 local derby win. The AJ Wells Black Dog award went to Rob Newton.
1. Rob Newton 2. Ben Savill 3. Adam Pratt 4. Kyle Draper 5. Mark Wilson 6. Rob Palmer 7. John Newton 8. Rob Jackson 9. Damo Marriot 10. Michael Cooper 11. Tom Monks 12. Jim McGovern 13. Aaron Marriot 14. Matt Cripps 15. Warren Riches.