Ventnor II 22-18 Basingstoke Cavaliers
With the sun shining on the south coast of the island the season got off to a terrific start thanks to two teams playing the game exactly the way it should be played. Strong running and support are bywords for the way Ventnor II like to play and this was evident all afternoon with strong performances across the board. Individual mistakes will be ironed out through match practise and there were enough good signs to suggest that the team can score a lot of tries this year if they get things right.
The match was a close affair with neither team achieving total dominance for sustained periods but Ventnor II deserved the win due to a few moments of excellence. The two packs were evenly matched with solid scrummaging and set pieces from both teams so the major difference came through the effervescence of scrum half Damien Marriott who ended the game with three well-taken tries following snaking runs from distance. These were backed up by another from Darrell Bolton on the wing following excellent work by the forwards sucking the Basingstoke team in tight before the ball was spun out through the Ventnor backs to Bolton who pinned back his ears and dived in at the corner. Warren Riches added a conversion.
With three new players making debuts and others waiting to return from injury this looks like it could be a good season for Ventnor II.
Wightlink Man of the match Damien Marriott
AJ Wells Black Dog Dean Magnurson for a typically dogged display
Team: Pratt, Stemmet, Newbery, Neil, Morley, Gareth, Englegardt, Magnurson, Marriott, Bridges, Cooper, Harris, Bolton, Cripps, Riches, Adkins, Babington, Blake, Simpson, Pemberton