Portsmouth RFC 2XV 20-17 Ventnor RFC 1XV match report
Saturday 16 September 2023
Ventnor travelled to Portsmouth RFC for this away double-header with 40 players which bodes well for the season to come. However it took some time for some new combinations to settle down and Ventnor’s rhythm was a little off as the game started and it was the home side that took a foothold in the game with an early penalty after a series of errors and miscues from the Island side.
Neither the set scrum nor the lineout were looking dependable and it took some serious go-forward by skipper Lewis Jones, Dan Lythgoe and Harry Colson to bring focus to Ventnor’s game after which it was a very equal contest. Lythgoe, Jones and George Collett began to gain some dominance in the scrum whilst Coughlan began to take good ball at the lineout where Ventnor became more pragmatic with their throwing options.
Towards the end of the half, Ventnor began to put some great rugby together. Ben Souter – in his new position at scrumhalf – started to get quick ball away and Sam Lines was able to put Fred Fairman into the heart of the Portsmouth defence from which Will Harrison, Andy Teague and Jason Coltham provided clean ball for pick-and-goes that took Ventnor deep into the Portsmouth half. Fairman just skimmed the post with a penalty before taking a short pass from Lines to drive within inches of the line before popping the ball back to Lines to touch down. Fairman slotted the conversion and Ventnor led 3 – 7 at halftime.
The beginning of the second half decided the game as Ventnor fell off first-up tackles from the kick-off and Portsmouth scored a soft try which they then followed up with a second try despite some heroic defence from Cory Turner, Josh Braham and Alex Morton.
Suddenly the score was 13 – 7 with Coughlan in the bin after a perceived high tackle and it needed a heroic charge from Jones – leading from the front – to bring Ventnor back into the game to touch down after a lineout peel. Fairman’s conversion attempt was flagged good by one touch judge but the referee chalked it off.
Ventnor were back on the front foot with Ed Blake and Jake Babington beginning to show some great footwork but disruption occurred when Teague sustained a knee injury so that Tristan Price came on into the front row and Colson moved into the second row.
This caused some disorganisation in a close-in lineout and Portsmouth scored from the resultant drive. Again Ventnor came back with Blake and Grant Richardson making ground before Lines touched down to bring Ventnor back within three points.
However, time ran out and Ventnor had to make do with a bonus point loss in the knowledge that the team may well have taken the win with a more consistent performance.
Image: JAMES MORTON
Team: Collett, Jones (capt), Lythgoe, Teague, Coltham, Harrison, Coghlan, Colson, Souter, Lines, Turner, Fairman, Braham, E.Blake, Babington.
Subs: Price, Richardson, A.Morton.
The A J Wells Man of the Match: Josh Braham
The Red Funnel Moment of the Match: Lewis Jones
Coaches: Jason Evans and Clive Cardwell-Hill
Physio: Sarah Watt
Next week: Ventnor 1st XV play the Isle of Wight RFC 1st XV away at Wootton. Ventnor 2nd XV play the Isle of Wight RFC 2nd XV also at Wootton, Saturday 23 September 2023.
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All fixtures are correct as at the time of publication and are given in good faith. E&OE. Fixtures are subject to change or cancellation at short notice.