Match report: Ventnor RFC 1XV 25 – 41 Alton RFC 1XV, 08/09/2018

The first league match of the season was a trying one for Ventnor, despite the home advantage Alton came with a strong, well prepared squad and an especially nimble back line.

The first points of the game went to Alton with a penalty that their fly half put away comfortably, after another offside call Alton took another shot at goal and came away 3 more points. However the next action was from Ventnor, Sam Lines carving up the Alton defence before offloading and eventually gaining Ventnor a penalty in front of the posts, which was unfortunately missed. Alton then stepped through a small hole in the Ventnor defence to score a try, and after converting they went on to be awarded another penalty, which they put between the posts for another 3 points. Ventnor missing 2 penalties were in need of a spark, which the found in the form of a huge over lap, sending Justinas Urbonas in for 5 points, Todd Riches converted.

After a long period of excellent defence by Ventnor, with huge tackles being made, Alton eventually managed to break through for their 2nd try, which they were able to convert.
With only a few minutes left of the first half nothing looked to be on, with Ventnor slowly creeping inside the Alton 22 metre line, until Ross Harris did something no one can either understand or explain. With a chip over the top that didn’t go where he’d planned, he managed to outpace all of the cover defence and dive on the ball over the line for Ventnors 2nd try.
But Alton were quick to respond and after turning the ball over shortly after they’d kicked off, they were in for another converted try.

The first ten minutes of the second half showed brilliance from Ventnor, terrific attacking rugby which when it was done properly, caused many problems for the Alton defence, they weren’t able to cope with the pace and power of the Ventnor back row. Todd Riches threw an enormous pass half way across the pitch, Lewis Jones offloaded to send captain Jake Babington in at the corner, the conversation was unsuccessful.

Alton’s back line now started to show their worth, they looked very dangerous with ball in hand, getting very close to breaking away on a number of occasions, eventually doing so and exploiting the Ventnor defence to score, with the conversion missed.  Ventnor were not out the game yet though. The Ventnor scrum had been dominating all game, and with a scrum won against the head, No8 Harry Colson picked up from the back, the following move led to brilliant line being run by the Ventnor 6 Calvin Edwards, which he turned into a try under the posts. The line was so good an Alton player actually congratulated Calvin as he sprinted past, rather than attempt to tackle him. Todd Riches converted. The game was topped off with one final try from Alton, which the they converted to give them the victory.

Although the first game of the season wasn’t a win, there were lots of high notes for the home crowd, the scrummaging was exceptional, winning every one of our own scrums and 2 against the head, the tackling on the whole was of very high calibre, and there were moments of brilliant rugby being played.

AJ Wells Man of the Match, for stepping in at 9, playing through injuries and scoring a wonder try was Ross Harris.

Red Funnel Moment of the Match, was also awarded to Ross Harris, for that try that we’re still talking about.

Thank you very much to our match day sponsors John Whitehouse, Yates’ Brewery, Bonchurch Garage, Simon Rodley, SR + L Hall, Broadfields Park, TF Property Solutions.

Team: Dawson, Jones, Pratt, Magnurson, Green, Edwards, Hill, Colson, Harris, Riches, Blake, Urbonas, Babington, Lines, Fox, Newman.

Match report: Chris Hill

A full report will appear in: the Ventnor RFC Magazine Autumn 2018 edition and the Autumn 2018 edition of the Isle of Wight Rugby Magazine.