Ventnor 1st XV 32 – 0 Locksheath Pumas
Ventnor’s final home game of the season had the glittering title of being a revenge game as they looked to settle a score with a team that they lost to on the away fixture.
Locksheath also had something to fight for as they were still mathematically in the promotion race, and had drafted in players from all round the country to field a full team.
Fired up from their strong performance last week, Ventnor welcomed the return of Sam Lines in at fly-half as Damien Marriott is out for the rest of the season. Other changes included James Pemberton and Adam Pratt at flanker and prop respectively. Jake Babington was on the bench as he returned from injury.
The game kicked off and almost immediately the heavens opened which lead to a game where knock ons were prolific. Right form the off Ventnor had the territorial advantage and were soon first on the score sheet through a Todd Riches penalty. Straight after this, Ventnor were once again in an attacking opportunity under the posts and it look like Lines had scored a try but the ref said no, it was then recycled to Sam Pickard who simply placed it over the line. With the absence of his brother, Aaron Marriott took up kicking duties and duely converted to make a 10 – 0 score line.
Ventnor then had Shaun Williams sin binned for foul play and even then still defended superbly. Locksheath had one chance all game to score and they failed as strong tackling from Lines, Marriott and Riches kept the visitors score to nil. Nolan Winter had a strong couple of minutes of the pitch in which his presence alone stopped any Locksheath attack.
In another strong attack Riches put Ventnor even further ahead to make a 17-0 half time score.
If the first half was all about rain, the second was about the fog which as the game went on was getting increasingly worse. So much so, that when Jake Babington touched down in the far corner, the on looking crowd had to be told that Ventnor had scored as visibility was at around 50m. The referee rightly replied to Locksheath’s calls that the game be abandoned that visibility was fine enough for the game to continue. In an almost de ja vu moment, Babington scored again after a similar move. This was despite captain Danny Newbery claiming he had scored it in the confusion! That try was Ventnor’s bonus point and Jake’s 13th try of the season, leaving him 2 tries ahead of Danny with one game remaining in the fight for top try scorer of the season.
Gavin Davis crashed over too for Ventnor’s final try just before the final whistle. This result leaves Ventnor with the opportunity to finish 3rd in the league. A truly deserved win that even the Locksheath captain said should have been more one sided that it was.
AJ Wells Black Dogs – Jake Babington and Sam Pickard
Wightlink Man of the Match – Danny Newbery (apparently)
Team – Newbery, Jones, Pratt, Pickard, Morley, Marsh, Pemberton, Riches, Marriott, Lines, Blake, Dobbass, Davis, Williams, Englegardt. Subs – Winter, Babington, Gilbert
Match Sponsors: Park Farm (Tom Smith), Westridge Skip Hire (John Smith) and The Island Wine Co.Ayres-Punchard (Chris Welsford), S.R. Hall Builders and One Small Co. LLP (Steve Hall), Broadfields
Ryde 55-5 Ventnor 2nd XV
Report to follow