Commons & Lords RFC 12-17 Ventnor Invitation XV
On Saturday a group of 40 plus VRFC club members, were up at the crack of dawn to catch the 6am ferry & travel to London for a day of sport & raising money for two incredibly worthwhile causes.
The touring party were playing a game of Rugby versus the House of Commons & Lords Rugby club, in a charity match for The RFU’s injured player’s foundation & the Richard Englegardt Trust. Richard is the Brother & uncle of two of Ventnor’s players, who was involved in a training incident that paralysed Richard. Over the past 5 years Ventnor have been raining funds for the trust & are supporters of the Injured player foundation too.
The game took place at the Lensbury Club, where the Argentina players (& indeed most of the visiting international teams do) were staying & had trained. The playing conditions, were not conducive to an open running game, but for Ventnor, whose team were mainly full of Veteran players, this was a blessing!
Ventnor started strongly, & although having to adapt to the “laws” of this type of game were soon on the scoresheet when Mike Walker spotted a gap & burst through to score. Warren Riches stepped up to convert. For the remainder of the half Ventnor dominated, but with the strict “10 metre” running rule they couldn’t quite make the score higher. Nathan Ricketts & Jake Babington both “scored” but were pulled back for running further than the allotted 10 metres. With a squad of 25, Ventnor, rotated players throughout the half & the second try came with Phil Robert’s powering over after an outrageous dummy which Dave Martin converted. It was at this point that the bizarre moment of the match happened when the referee was sick in the middle of the pitch, why? We never did find out! Half time 0. 14
The second half was greeted with more driving cold rain! Only the few hardened supporters remained to watch, while some of the older wiser members retired to the clubhouse the enjoy the barrel of Yates “front row” beer, that was part of the sponsorship for the day. In the 2nd half & the wind behind them the Commons & Lords began to put pressure on Ventnor, & the age of the majority of Ventnor’s squad began to tell. Steve Marsh had to limp out of the game after a clash of heads with a young conservative, who has a broken nose & Marsh was concussed (or so he says!). With all the interchanges, Ventnor found their selves without a scrum half & Lord Addlington took advantage with a nip round the blindside to score. Ventnor, tried to rally, but the C&L were now on the up & next Mick Wildgoose crashed over & with the kick converted by young John Callaghan the C&L were only 2 points behind. Ventnor needed to make changes & strengthen their attack. Warren Riches did just that down the left wing, but his pass to Tim Ross was spilt & then Father Son team Rob & Tom Engelgardt combined but were stopped short. The tackles were coming in thick & fast with Paul Cope taking a massive hit at Scrum Half & then Dean Magnursson coming in late on his opposite number (not the first time he was late on the day!). As the game drew to an end, Dave Martin, who had been sniping away all morning, seized a pass from the back of the scrum & “grubbered” a kick perfectly between the posts to put the visitors 5 points ahead. With little time remaining the C&L attacked again & again, but to no avail & Ventnor ran out winners.
After the game both teams & supporters were treated to an excellent luncheon at The Lensbury club, where an auction for the charities was held (raising just shy of £1,000). Then it was off to watch England beat Argentina ta Twickenham.
A great day had by all & one in which both Charities were well supported. The Commons & Lords have invited Ventnor to return next year, which should see another great day for all.
Wightlink Man of the Match – Nathan Ricketts
AJ Wells Black Dog – Dave Martin
Thanks to our sponsors for the day – Mark Rogers Finance & Steve Camm (Hiscocks) & Yates Brewery
Team: Mike Walker, Bob Engelgardt, Steve Marsh, Nathan Ricketts, Stuart Babington, Matt Taylor, Nolan Winter, Dean Magnursson, Paul Cope, Dave Martin, Tom Wells, Warren Fresle, Jake Babington, Tom Engelgardt, Warren Riches. Ron Newton, Ed Clarke, Phil Roberts, Neil Gadsby, Rick Newhouse, Rick Orkney, Drew Drummond, Trev Heal, Tim Ross, Martin Newberry