With this being the last ever Ventnor 2nd XV game due to being thrown out of the Merit League, Foxie pulled out all of the stops to get a bumper team together to go out with a real bang. Surely nobody would want to miss out on such a momentous game as this…..
I expected Red Funnel to have put on an extra Redjet for the swarm of Ventnor rugby players and fans.
I expected there to be so many players that we’d be subbing on and off every few minutes just to give everyone a game.
Yes I was right. 8 of us travelled.
At least three of us didn’t want to bother going over. And when we got to Southampton some us wanted to rethink it and just go and get a Nando’s instead.
But nobody wanted to let Ventnor down and nobody wanted to let Foxie down after all of his hard work to get just over half a team together…
The coach arrived to pick us up and probably thought the rest of us had missed the ferry and were going to catch the next one. We convinced him that wasn’t the case and we set off.
We pulled up and were greeted by New Milton’s Director of Rugby. We introduced him to Foxie. He was definitely impressed.
Some of their players didn’t seem up for a game and it looked like we might have to turn straight back round and leave them to a training session (genuinely true…) but they split up their squad of 22(!!) and gave us enough players to make it 13 a side.
10 minutes after arriving the game kicked off.
It wasn’t actually a bad game! They were a really good bunch of blokes and the guys they sent to play for us didn’t seem too annoyed and looked like they were enjoying themselves. Not long after half time the score was something to them and a few less to us with two scores for V2, both by players given to us.
Oh Foxie had gone off long before this point. Surprisingly not a head injury he has now added a duff knee to his list of reasons not to be able to work in the week after rugby!
Dane was tackling like a man possessed, The Rev was turning back the clock at 10, Scott and Jac were dominating the uncontested scrums, Matt was snaking his way through their defence, Foxie was enjoying rum on the sidelines, the Magic Man was ensuring he didn’t get too dirty and Flanman was delaying the restart because he has to put plasters on his blisters. So everyone was involved fully.
Flanman did a Flanman and got angry because a try was given that shouldn’t have been and stormed off the pitch and into the changing rooms to find something to kill.
Today was never about the score which was something like 70-22. Today was about pulling on a Ventnor shirt and being proud to be there. The Mighty Lions did not go down with a whimper, they were beaten but unbowed.
New Milton were incredible hosts and brought us crate of beer into the changing room after the match.
Those of us who went to play probably enjoyed the game more than we thought we were going to which is exactly what rugby should be about – especially for the V2 Mighty Lions.
Men of the match were Matt Cripps and Dane Dovale.
The other obviously went to Flanman.
Match report: Allan Bridges