On a blisteringly hot day, Ventnor travelled to Basingstoke with only 10 players and they were glad they remembered their water bottles. With the news that Basingstoke 1sts didn’t have a game and that Ventnor would be playing that side the writing was on the wall for an absolute walloping, especially as they put 4 tries in early on in the game.
However, Ventnor soon realised that their physicality would be the key to this game and soon hard tackles and strong running led to Ventnor marching up the pitch. Tommy Engelgardt crashed over for the first points and a Jakobus Stemmet pass. With this in mind the travelling side upped the breakdown effort and were soon rewarded with a scrum on the their 40 yard line for a knock on. Ed Blake, playing at unfamiliar 8, picked the ball up at the base and handed off the opposition fly half to then run the rest of the pitch to score under the posts. Flanker Warren Riches converted.
Dane Dovale had to go off with a suspected fracture of the fingernail after only 20 mins which meant Ventnor had to borrow yet another player from Basingstoke. The rest of the half was quite fairly matched and no more scores were put in by either side. Some brilliant tackling by the back line held back the strong runners with Matty Cripps, Martyn Newberry, and Mark Wilson all showing great defensive technique.
The second half saw a bit of a change around with some of the Basingstoke players swapping teams to keep the game fresh.
Some tactical play from Ventnor was reaping rewards as they became accustom to the play of their opposition. This soon lead to a driving maul which break up and a couple of passes later Grant Richardson scored on his debut.
Later on after some superb ripping of the ball in a maul by scrum half Ed Clarke, Engelgardt scored another try. A fifth try was added by loan player TheRealOne after a catch from the kick off.
Meanwhile Basingstoke kept their score ticking over and the eventual score was a fair one. However, Basingstoke – on paper – should have wiped the floor with the Ventnor side but grit, determination, and teamwork gave Ventnor a great performance that rounded off the season beautifully.
A thoroughly enjoyable game that was played in largely great spirits. Special thanks to Basingstoke who gave us competant players to make a game of it.
Mighty Lions Squad – Stemmet (C), Newbery, Wilson, Richardson, Riches, Blake, Clarke, Cripps, Engelgardt, Dovale,
Man of the Match – Ed Clarke and Tommy Engelgardt
AJ Wells Black Dog – Jak Stemmet for passing to the referee