Ventnor travelled to Southampton with hopes of maintaining their impressive recent form against bottom of the table Stoneham.
On arrival, it was clear the playing conditions were going to be extremely difficult. The pitch was barely playable, with large puddles covering many parts. Even so the match went ahead and Ventnor applied pressure to the Stoneham try line from the offset. Unfortunately, chance after chance went begging as the conditions made it difficult for Ventnor to play the flowing rugby they have played all season.
“Hands” Harris was the main culprit in the first half, dropping the ball on 4 occasions when the try line was in sight. Thankfully after 20 minutes, the outstanding James Morely received a pass from Cooper and strolled over the line to give Ventnor a deserved lead. The match then became a series of scrums as both sides struggled in the worsening conditions to hold onto the ball. Stoneham didn’t get out of their own half and, just before the interval, Harris finally held onto a pass to race over in the corner.
The second half was just like the first, in that Ventnor camped in the Stoneham half but couldn’t overcome the slippery ball. This said though, there was definitely something about Ben Cooper, as he was the only player on the pitch in the second half who was able to rise above the conditions. He kicked one glorious penalty from out wide and made several sniping breaks, one of which he managed to avoid several tackles to score Ventnor’s third try to make the score 23 points to nil.
Ventnor pushed for the fourth try which would have given them a bonus point, but were continually frustrated. With minutes remaining a surging run by Dobas put him clean through, but still he managed to lose possession of the ball when it seemed a certain try was on the cards. Ventnor were relieved to have finished the match as winners and look forward to a week off next week from their league campaign. Wightlink man of the match was James Morely, who is playing some of the best rugby of his life. The AJ Wells Black Dog award went to “Hands” Harris.