Ventnor RFC 2XV 5-43 Winchester RFC Knights Match Report Sat 28 January 2023
With Ventnor RFC 1XV flying south to Guernsey RFC, it was a chance for Ventnor RFC 2XV to take centre stage at Watcombe Bottom for a Counties 5 Hampshire South West league game against a strong, close-knit and well-drilled Winchester Knights team who were treating their visit to the Island as a mini-tour.
Immediately at the whistle, it looked like Ventnor were in for a very long afternoon with the talented and experienced Winchester side racking up five converted tries in the first twenty minutes, but – to their immense credit – the Islanders began to get a foothold in the game.
It started with the set scrum where prop Jack Rushton was outstanding and fully belied the fact that he had been up for the best part of the week awaiting the birth of his daughter Olivia, born just the day before.
With Mike Flanagan’s losing his battle against his ankle injury early on, Aaron Newman came on as hooker and had a storming game, winning several strikes against the head as well as ruling the airways in the lineout.
Image: JAMES MORTON
Skipper James Blake and Grant Richardson were a powerhouse in the second row which helped secure clean ball enabling the experience of Ross Harris and Todd Riches to use the wider spaces and start to work the visitors’ big forwards around the pitch.
The imposing centre partnership of James Green and Gavin Davis began to make inroads and it was a real shame when Davis had to leave the pitch with hamstring issues after an exceptional piece of cover defence.
Winchester managed one more try before halftime to lead 0 – 38 but after the break it was a much more even contest with the returning Tim Davis – playing at number eight – and his backrow partners, Steve Maskell and debutant Nathan Frampton making some serious charges with great support from Richardson, Blake and Rushton.
It still took some brave defence to keep Winchester at bay and no-one epitomised that more than Harry Ottley – also playing his first game for Ventnor – who looked a real prospect.
Warren Riches also put his body on the line on more than one occasion despite his recent rib injury and he and Todd Riches stemmed the tide with some judicious kicking.
Winchester snatched one more try after a well-drilled lineout maul but the last word went to Ventnor after a storming break by Frampton up the middle of the pitch. When stopped, the ball was recycled to the right and after great work by Miles Taylor (yet another very promising debutant) the ball went out to Newman who sprinted under the posts to ensure the second half was a draw!
Image: JAMES MORTON
A J Wells Man of the Match: Aaron Newman (Fast Fred)
Red Funnel Moment of the Match: Neil Evans
Team: Rushton, Newman, Flanagan, J.Blake, Richardson, Frampton, Maskell, T.Davis, Harris, T.Riches, Ottley, Green, G.Davis, Taylor and W.Riches.
Subs (unused):- N.Evans
Physios: Zoe Jones and Sarah Watt
Match Report: James Morton
Ventnor RFC 2XV’s next fixture, in the Counties 5 Hampshire South West league, is away against Chichester RFC on Saturday 18 February 2023.
For more information, please contact JAMES MORTON, Hon Club Secretary, Ventnor RFC
T: 07901 938 317
The fixtures are correct as of the date of the time of publication and are given in good faith. E & OE. All fixtures are subject to change or cancellation at short notice.