Ventnor RFC 1XV 0-29 Havant RFC 3XV match report
Counties 3 Hampshire Saturday 18 November 2023
With at least nine 1st XV regulars missing from the line-up including skipper Lewis Jones who is out until the new year with a hand injury, Ben Savill led out the Ventnor team.
Will Broomfield, Charlie Magnurson, Harry Colson and Callum Martin stepped up from the second-team squad and the Islanders welcomed back both Tom Crews and Luke Butler. Considering they were up against the league leaders, in these unusual circumstances it should have been a simple game to predict but the reality was something else indeed.
The first part of the game was all Ventnor. With Savill leading from the front, the home team competed with a vengeance and put enormous pressure on the heavy Havant pack. With Max Wheeler at fly-half using the wind to great effect, Ventnor camped down deep into the opposition’s half and were unlucky not the turn this pressure into points when the referee missed several blatant offsides as Havant RFC 3XV pushed up in defence.
Ventnor’s line-out was going well with Joe Coghlan ruling the airways and Will Harrison throwing well despite the breezy conditions but the set scrum was struggling and Ben Souter did exceptionally well to get the ball away to his backline.
Souter took over the number nine shirt at the beginning of the season and his progress has been remarkable enhanced by his energy around the pitch and his cover defence. George Collett had another terrific game as he and his great-mate Coghlan led the tackle count with Guy Entwistle and Andy Teague not far behind.
The ever-improving Grant Richardson was having his best game of the season and he and Will Broomfield were taking the game to the opposition whilst some of the hits by all members of the team – not least Wheeler – were bone-crunching, the highlight being when a combination of Broomfield and Teague took Havant’s charging second-row player back five metres.
It took Havant twenty minutes to get their attack going and only a brilliant cover tackle by Jake Babington and a great turnover by Ed Blake prevented a score but the game was beginning to turn as the visitors realised that there was no progress to be had through the middle and began to use their wider players where there was some serious pace on display. They eventually scored wide out on the right despite some great defence from Charlie Magnurson playing well out of position on the wing.
Ventnor’s backs were seeing little ball as Wheeler was using the boot as his weapon of choice but the usual vociferous crowd were enjoying the sight of Tom Crews back in Ventnor colours and giving all in attack and defence. Havant scored again just before halftime so that the score was 0 – 10 at the break.
Harry Colson came on for Richardson and Luke Butler replaced Callum Martin but Ventnor’s cause wasn’t helped by the ever-increasing wind blowing in their faces. Havant managed to score three more tries in the half but Ventnor still put the pressure on the visitor’s line and were extremely unlucky not to score as Blake, Harrison, Colson, Entwistle and Broomfield all drove for the line in extended sieges.
Wheeler came off with a recurring knee injury and the irrepressible Tristan Price came on as the ever-willing Martin replaced Crews after a notable return as the game came to its denouement.
With a final score of 0 – 29, it could be construed as a lacklustre performance by Ventnor, but this is far from a true picture and the Islanders can take huge satisfaction for a match in which everyone performed beyond the call of duty.
Team: Collett, Savill (capt), Harrison, Teague, Richardson, Entwistle, Coghlan, Broomfield, Souter, M.Wheeler, C.Magnurson, Crews, E.Blake, Martin, Babington.
Subs: Price, Colson, Butler
Coaches: Jason Evans
Physio: Sarah Watt
Ventnor RFC would like to thank our match sponsors for the day, namely: Ayres Punchard Investment Management Ltd, Dan Noyes Sports Massage Therapy, Howdens of Sandown, LJ Plumbing, Smugglers Haven Tea Gardens, The Bistro, The Smoking Lobster and Ventnor Haven Fishery.
Match Report: JAMES MORTON
Next Fixtures – Saturday 25th November 2023
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All fixtures are subject to change or cancellation at short notice.