Isle of Wight RFC 1XV 17-22 Ventnor RFC 1XV Sat 18 March 2023
Ventnor RFC 1XV gained revenge for the Isle of Wight RFC 1XV’s victory at Watcombe earlier in the season with a win at Wootton that said as much about the character of the team as it did about their ever-improving rugby.
The home team were on the front foot for the first quarter of the game, putting massive pressure on the Ventnor set piece and running hard lines to bring out the best in Ventnor’s unshakable defence.
The Isle of Wight RFC 1XV took a lead after ten minutes with a comprehensive push-over try in a scrum against the head which suggested a hard day in the office for the visitors.
However, Ventnor hit back with an interception try from Sam Lines when he gambled on the rush and took a miraculous catch almost from behind his back. Tom Crews calmly slotted the conversion from far out and Ventnor were leading against the run of play!
This set-back seemed to take the wind out of the Isle of Wight whose early energy dissipated as the visitors’ travelling support got louder!
Suddenly there was parity at scrum-time and Ventnor’s line-out – with Lewy Morton dominant – was performing well thanks to the precision throwing of skipper Lewis Jones.
Image: Lois Mullins
Ventnor’s front row of George Collett, Jones and Adam Pratt won a penalty at a scrum, the ball was moved up field and Lines put a deft kick over the top that Ben Cooper and Ben Souter almost fashioned into a try.
Ventnor won the penalty and Crews added to his kicking tally. The home team went back on the attack but were repelled with some extraordinary defence with Chris Hill, Joe Coghlan, Jason Coltham and Morton to the fore.
Fergus Kenny had a dislocated thumb sorted by Zoe Jones and returned to the fray in time to see the Isle of Wight level the scores when a speculative kick ahead resulted in a try to leave the scores level at 10 – 10 as the halftime whistle blew.
Image: Lois Mullins
Image: Lois Mullins
Ventnor set their stall out early in the second half with Kenny kicking for position and the chasers – Jake Babington, Ed Blake and Souter creating all sorts of pressure for the home team’s back three.
From this attacking field position, Morton charged down a clearing kick and Coltham returned the ball into the heart of the defence and Ventnor set siege to the line before Hill crashed over for the try.
Kenny had to leave the field for Luke Butler to take his place. Babington and Morton pulled off a try-saving tackle when the Isle of Wight made a rare clean break and Butler moved the ball down field to relieve the pressure. Ventnor set up a number of phases, Butler sniped and the ball was moved wide where the excellent Andy Teague put Hill in for his second try. Crews kicked the conversion and Ventnor were ahead 10 – 22.
Again the Isle of Wight went back onto the attack sending in their big runners time and time again only to see them stopped by some staggering Ventnor defence even after Cooper was shown a yellow card. Hill – whose body had eventually cried enough – was replaced by Fred Fairman and the home team were unable to break through despite having the man advantage.
With the clock moving into the red, the Isle of Wight did score a converted try but it was all too late and Ventnor were able to celebrate a hard-fought victory in which their team ethic and determination to not let their teammates down shone through.
It was altogether a great day for Ventnor as this victory followed on from their 2nd XV’s last-gasp win against the Isle of Wight’s 2nd XV earlier in the day. There MAY be sore heads in the morning . . .
Image: Louis Mullins
Team: Collett, Jones (capt), Pratt, Teague, Coltham, Coghlan, L.Morton, Cardwell-Hill, Crews, Kenny, Souter, Lines, Cooper, E.Blake, Babington. Subs: Price, Fairman, Butler.
A J Wells Man of the Match: Lewy Morton
Red Funnel Moment of the Match: Fergus Kenny
Coaches: Jason Evans, Fergus Kenny and Clive Cardwell-HillPhysios: Sarah Watt and Zoe Jones
Match Report: James Morton
This was the final of the Ventnor RFC 1XV fixtures for 2022-23 season in the Counties 3 Hampshire league, with the 2023-24 season expected to start in September 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.