Unfortunately, due to injuries and absences, Ventnor RFC were only able to travel with 13 players this week. 2 of which were in their 50s. However, this did not deter them, and so lead to one of those games the players will be talking about for years.
Due to the very hard playing surface, Ventnor decided to lighten the pack up so that there was more defenders out for defending expansive play that the fast track would help. With 6, and sometimes 5, in the scrum Ventnor did not lose one once against the very large 8 man pack of Gosport. In fact, Ventnor even won one against the head with 5 players. Truly heroic from them, especially front rowers Tristan Price, Ben Savill, and captain for the day Adam Pratt.
Normally a team turning up undermanned is a licence for the stronger team to turn the game into a cricket score, Ventnor were keen for this not to be the case. Go sports score was kept very low, with their only scores coming from driving mauls out wide.
Ventnor got on the score sheet when George Finan intercepted and ran half the pitch to score under the posts, making an easy conversion for Ed Blake.
The defensive display was impressive with strong tackling from Harry Colson, Ben Atkins, and Warren Riches.
Half time score – 20-7.
As the teams changed ends, Ventnor were now running into the wind but this was not to stop them. Sam Lines scored two identical tries in very quick succession. Tapping a couple of penalties and side-stepping the defenders, this made the score 20-19. Could Ventnor do the impossible?
Gosport then answered with 3 more tries using their maul as the main attack weapon. But as Ventnor had pushed them wide, the wide conversions were being missed, keeping the score to 35 – 19.
Brave defending from all was starting to take its toll. 2 players were forced to retire injured. But this only strengthened the resolve of the travelling side. Another tap and go penalty saw Ed Blake for down. Followed closely by Jake Babington sliding in for his first of the season. Making the score 35-33 with 9 mins to go. So close!
Gosport refreshed their pack with plenty of substitutions for the final assault and unfortunately for Ventnor 2 more unconverted tries pushed Gosport ahead for the final time.
Final score 45-33, a try bonus point heading Ventnor’s way but could they have taken all 5 ?!
AJ Wells Men of the Match – Jake Babington and Harry Colson.
Red Funnel Moment of the Match – Ed Blake
Team – Price, Savill, Pratt, Griggs, S. Babington, Colson, J. Babington, Lines, Blake, Finan, Alex, Atkins, Riches.
Gosport and Fareham RFC