Pre-season friendly Southampton RFC 2XV 15 – 19 Ventnor RFC match report
Ventnor RFC travelled to Southampton with a squad containing a mix of experience and came away with a deserved win against a strong Southampton side who never gave up throughout. Coaches Jason Evans, Clive Cardwell-Hill and Neil Evans used the game to try players in new positions so some of the play was scrappy at times but the intent to adopt the patterns learned on the training pitch was very evident.
Ventnor RFC started strongly with Fred Fairman and skipper Lewis Jones making powerful inroads into the opposition’s red zone. However, the old habits of impatience were still evident in Ventnor’s play and a number of chances were squandered with the ball being turned over. This finally led to a breakout by Southampton who scored after some excellent offloading play.
Southampton then doubled their lead when a couple of missed tackles allowed another unstoppable charge up the middle of the pitch. Neither try was converted. Ventnor regrouped and some excellent work at scrum time from George Collett and Tristan Price sent Fairman to within five metres of the Southampton tryline. The ball was quickly recycled by Cory Turner, Jason Coltham and Andy Teague so that Ben Souter – on an impressive debut at scrumhalf – was able to snipe over for the try. Crucially Tom Crews slotted the conversion.
The game was played in four quarters and several changes were made at the end of the first quarter which disrupted the flow of the game but showcased some of the newer Ventnor players who kept up the pressure on the Southampton defence with Bradley Francis and Nathan Frampton to the fore. Charlie Magnurson set up an attack which Will Broomfield – on an outstanding debut – carried to the line but was unable to get his offload away to Callum Martin in space. The half ended with Ventnor on top but trailing 10 -7.
The second half started badly for the visitors with Southampton setting up a maul from a close-in lineout and powering over to increase their lead. Ventnor responded strongly however and a kick ahead by Sam Lines was chased down by the Morton brothers – Alex and Lewy – which resulted in a breakdown on the Southampton line from which Alex Morton was able to flick the ball back to Lines who touched down for the try.
It was all Ventnor now and their fitness and teamwork were beginning to tire the opposition who could only respond with punts down the field which were bravely fielded by Alex Morton who set up an attack from which Grant Richardson was able to power forward. The ball was recycled in midfield after more good work from Lewy Morton, Coltham and Teague which allowed Ed Blake to spot a gap and jink through for the winning try.
Once again Crews converted to take the score to 15 – 19. Southampton never gave up and in the dying minutes they set up a desperate attack down the left wing which was only halted by some desperate defence by the ubiquitous Lewy Morton and Dylan Gray – another outstanding debutant.
Image: JAMES MORTON
Images: JAMES MORTON
After the game a little ceremony took place in which Jewy Jones presented a colourful hip joint to Eric Johnson who sustained such a nasty injury last year at Watcombe. Eric reciprocated with some flowers for Zoe Jones who had attended him on the pitch that day. Jewy declared that “VRFC and Southampton RFC are now joined at the hip!” Groans all round . . . .
Image: JAMES MORTON
Team: Collett, Jones (capt), Price, Teague, Coltham, C.Magnurson, Richardson, L.Morton, Souter, Lines, Turner, Crews, Fairman, Gray, E.Blake. Subs: Price, Francis, N.Frampton, Broomfield, Martin, A.Morton
The A J Wells Man of the Match: Lewy Morton
The Red Funnel Moment of the Match: Ben Souter
Coaches: Jason Evans, Clive Cardwell-Hill and Neil Evans
Physio: Sarah Watt
For more information, please contact JAMES MORTONVentnor RFC T: 07901 938 317 E: firstname.lastname@example.org