Isle of Wight RFC 2XV 20-34 Ventnor RFC 2XV match report
Counties 5 Hampshire South West, Saturday 23 September 2023
It was good to see James Morley, Chris Skelley, Mike Flanagan and Allan Bridges in the blue of Ventnor once again and all had outstanding games – especially Bridges who came on early on to cover for Alan Fox who tweaked a shoulder and played outstandingly at scrumhalf after Ross Harris was forced to withdraw with an ankle injury before the match.
Image: Andrew Cooper Photography
The game began with some patchy rugby interspersed with many lots of whistle due to high tackles from both sides as these two great rivals took it to each other. With Jack Rushton leading from the front, Ventnor’s pack began to gain some ascendancy with fellow front-row players Chris Skelly and Bradley Francis having powerful games in the set and Dean Magnurson doing the hard graft on the floor.
The home team had plenty of ball as well, but Ventnor’s defence, led by Alan Fox, Dylan Gray and Ewan Castle, stood up to everything that came their way. Ventnor were playing a limited game at this point with the ageless Warren Riches just sending the ball out to Charlie Magnurson at inside centre who made ground every time. As the ball was recycled with Tim Davis outstanding in this respect, it was Steve Maskell who made ground and the Isle of Wight’s erstwhile stern defence began to wilt.
After half an hour, it was Will Broomfield who took advantage of this and charged over for the first try after a pickup from the pack of an advancing scrum. Then Maskell went on the rampage combining power and dancing feet which allowed Broomfield to go over for his second try. The Isle of Wight slotted a penalty so, as the whistle blew for halftime, the score was 3 – 10.
As the second half started, substitutes were coming and going but the quality of performance didn’t drop and this allowed Broomfield to charge over for his hat-trick. Riches converted and the game looked to be all but over as the amazing Broomfield then added to his tally with his fourth try which Riches converted again.
However, the home team never gave up and some uncharacteristic sloppy tackling from Ventnor allowed a try which was followed by an excellent score from their right winger despite some terrific defence from Harry Ottley and Olly Wood. Riches calmed the nerves with a penalty before the Isle of Wight drove for a close-in try to bring the score back to within seven points.
But Ventnor had the last word when James Blake and Dan Mew made ground in midfield, Broomfield took it on and James Green drove over for a try which Riches converted to leave the final scoreline 20 – 34.
This second away win in a row is a powerful statement at the start of Hampshire Counties 5 which they now lead.
The team have time off until they play their first home game against New Milton RFC 2XV on 7th October.
Image: James Morton
Team: Rushton (capt), Francis, Skelly, Green, Morley, D.Magnurson, T.Davis, Broomfield, Fox, W.Riches, Ottley, C.Magnurson, Maskell, Gray, Castle.
Subs: J.Blake, Mew, Martin, Harrison, Wood, Frampton, Flanagan, Bridges.
Physios: Sarah Watt
Image: James Morton
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