Havant RFC 3XV 52-24 Ventnor RFC 1XV Match Report Sat 11 March 2023
In the penultimate fixture for Ventnor RFC 1XV of the 2022-23 season, in the Counties 3 Hampshire league, Ventnor travelled away to Havant RFC 3XV, with their final fixture next Saturday.
A series of injuries during play probably decided this game for Ventnor who, once again looked good in phases and took the game to Havant deep into the second half when force of numbers tilted the balance comprehensively in favour of the home side.
Ventnor went behind early in the match when some indifferent tackling allowed a breakup Havant’s right. Ventnor responded well but the ubiquitous Chris Hill picked up a leg injury and was replaced by Fred Fairman in the back row.
This early reorganisation disrupted Ventnor’s flow and this was compounded when they failed to clean up a kick ahead by Havant and the home side doubled their lead. Knowing they were well in the game, Ventnor began to play rugby in the wrong areas of the pitch and paid the price when a ball went loose and Havant scored again to go ahead 17 – 0.
At this point, Ventnor lost their captain, Lewis Jones, with a knee injury. This was a huge blow since Jones had been having his usual storming match and it also disrupted the lineout and set scrums. Bradley Francis came on for his debut in the first fifteen and did outstandingly well in the midst of the battle. Hill bravely came back on and played a full part in Ventnor’s revival as a drive up the middle saw Andy Teague slip an inside ball to Fergus Kenny who put Tom Crews into space.
Crews – having an excellent first game at scrumhalf – sold the dummy and dived over for an excellent team score. Ed Blake narrowly missed the conversion from wide out. The momentum was very much Ventnor’s and it was a shame when, once again, some mis-tackles led to another try by Havant to take the lead out to 24 – 5.
Undismayed Ventnor went back on attack and Blake, Ben Soutter and Cory Turner took play deep into Havant’s half only for the play to be stopped for a head injury to the powerful Ben Cooper who had to leave the field. Fairman came back on and slotted into his more accustomed position in the centres where he and Sam Lines made an impressive partnership.
As halftime approached, Ventnor were once again storming Havant’s line and Teague had the presence of mine to dot a loose ball down for a try. Crews converted and it was 24 – 12 at the break.
The second half started with Ventnor on top and it was once again Teague who got on the scoresheet after a jinking break caught the home side napping.
Crews once again converted and it was game-on at 24 – 17. Hence it was a massive shame that Hill had to leave the field for good and Ventnor had to play the last twenty-five minutes with just fourteen men in which time the home side scored another four tries with the only response being a fine try by Blake converted by Crews.
Compounding this situation was that George Collett had picked up a thigh injury and played more than half the game on just one leg.
Despite this, he put up a remarkable performance showing well as usual in the set piece – where Adam Pratt and stand-in skipper, Ben Savill were outstanding – and doing his share of tackling in midfield.
Talking of tackling both Joe Coghlan and Lewy Morton had great games.
At one point Morton put in three tackles almost in as many seconds to thwart Havant’s short-passing game and then won the turnover to boot!
Despite the appearance of the final score, Ventnor will take heart from this game as the continue to move in the right direction with their style of play.
Ventnor will be hoping their injury list clears up in time for the big derby at Isle of Wight RFC next Saturday.
Team: Collett, Jones (capt), Pratt, Teague, Savill, Coghlan, L. Morton, Cardwell-Hill, Crews, Kenny, Souter, Cooper, Lines, Turner, E. Blake.
A J Wells Man of the Match: George Collett
Red Funnel Moment of the Match: Andy Teague
Coaches: Jason Evans, Fergus Kenny, Clive Cardwell-Hill
Next Saturday (18th March 2023), both Ventnor 1sts and 2nds play the Isle of Wight at Isle of Wight RFC.
Match report: James Morton
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.