Ventnor RFC 1XV 33-15 Alresford RFC 1XV match report
Counties 3 Hampshire Saturday 13 January 2024
It was with some alarm that the large crowd at Watcombe watched Ventnor fluff their lines at the first kick off and go down to an early try against a fired-up Alresford side. Then, when their subsequent kick off failed to go the required ten metres, there was an audible groan at the prospect of another under-par performance from the home side. Suffice to say, it was just about the last error that Ventnor made as they put on a display of sparkling rugby that they’d been threatening all season against a mainland side who never gave an inch all day.
The victory started in the front row where Grant Richardson, George Collett and skipper Ben Savill simply obliterated their opposition and provided Ben Souter with plenty of clean ball with which to get his back line moving.
At flyhalf, Sam Lines ran the show with his variety of play ranging from subtle kicks, his usual side-stepping breaks or service to his centres where Joel Cocks and 1st XV debutant Layton Greatorex offered a contrast of elusiveness and power which proved effective all game.
Ventnor got straight back into the game as Charlie Magnurson made the initial break, Joe Coghlan and Lewy Morton provided the support and Lines made inroads and found Souter who dived over. Ed Blake added the conversion. Then, after a heel against the head, Magnurson made further ground, putting Alresford back on their heels.
When the move threatened to lose its way, Lines put in a speculative cross-kick that Greatorex did brilliantly to field and offload to Fred Fairman who passed to Cocks as he was tackled. The centre wrong-footed the full back before touching down far out on the left. 12 – 5 to Ventnor.
The home team remained on the front foot with the support work of Andy Teague and another 1st XV debutant Nathan Frampton to the fore before the move of the match as the ball passed through many hands before Richardson – in at least his third involvement in the play – powered over for a try just before halftime.
Blake converted so it was 18 – 8 at the break.
At the resumption, it was Fred Fairman who put Ventnor straight back into the fray with a terrific take from Lines’ pinpoint restart. Ventnor’s pack then secured the position from which Lines switched play with a short pass to Cocks and the centre – cutting a rapier-like path – swerved over for his second try. Once again Blake converted.
To their great credit, Alresford began to get back into the match as Ventnor got on the wrong side of the referee and some neat line kicking from the visitors gave them a position from which to lay siege to Ventnor’s line. But, with Savill and Morton marshalling the defence, they found the home side in no mood to concede.
Time and time they battered into a solid blue and white wall and were driven back. However, as the penalties mounted up, the ubiquitous George Collett took a team yellow immediately followed by another for Frampton who was deemed to have gone beyond the ball in a ruck. Down to thirteen and still under immense pressure, Ventnor kept their line intact and even when the mainlanders went wide, somehow Coghlan got there to make the try-saving tackle.
Eventually Alresford forced themselves over the line and the referee deliberated before awarding the try (to the confusion of the crowd) to bring them back into the game at 26 – 15.
Having eventually conceding to his enduring rib injury, Magnurson came off after a terrific game that demonstrated his power and abilities for all to see and – perhaps most importantly – to himself. Will Harrison came on and immediately showed his readiness for the fray. Ventnor – still down to thirteen – went back on the attack.
Richardson made the initial break, Blake and Greatorex carried it on before Blake set Jake Babington down the right and the fullback jinked his way over for an excellent try. Ed Blake added the two pints with a conversion from far out.
As the clock ran down, Fairman came off to be replaced by the ever-improving Callum Martin who announced himself by bundling Alresford’s winger into touch with the last move of the game.
Final score 33 – 15.
Image: James Morton
Footnote. Once again show-casing the true spirit of the rugby family, in a brief half-time ceremony Alresford’s travelling support presented Lesley Orton with £270 that they had raised in support of Luke Orton’s fund. Lesley and Tony are converting their Ventnor home to meet Luke’s future needs after his life-changing injury playing beach rugby in the summer. https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/Lukeshomefund
Image: James Morton
Team: Richardson, Collett, Savill (capt), Teague, Frampton, Coghlan, L. Morton, C.Magnurson, Souter, Lines, Fairman, Cocks, Greatorex, E. Blake, Babington.
Subs: Harrison, Martin, Fox
Coaches: Jason Evans, Clive Cardwell-Hill, Todd Riches
Physio: Sarah Watt
Ventnor RFC would like to thank our match sponsors, namely: Fergus Kenny, G L Harding Building Solutions, John Liddelow Financial Services, Lake Laundry Services Ltd, No 24 Ventnor, SPR Scaffolding IoW Ltd, The Longshoreman’s Museum, The Two Cooks and Wight Fire & Security.
Match Report: JAMES MORTON
Next Ventner RFC Fixtures – Saturday 20 January 2024
Next Saturday Ventnor’s 1st XV travel to Romsey.
Ventnor’s 2nd XV have another week off before the double header at Watcombe on 27th January against Christchurch.
Secretary, Ventnor RFC
T: 07901 938 317
Ventnor Rugby Club, Watcombe Bottom, Whitwell Road, Ventnor, Isle of Wight, PO38 1LP – view on Google Maps
All fixtures are subject to change or cancellation at short notice.
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Fundraiser to get Luke Orton home
A reminder that Luke’s family have recently launched a fundraiser to get Luke home.
‘Weʼre raising £20,000 for adaptations needed to get Luke home after a rugby accident left him paralysed and without the use of his hands.’
Luke suffered a serious life-changing injury on 22nd July 2023, while taking part in a beach rugby tournament on the Isle of Wight. He suffered a broken neck, also suffering spinal cord damage, including a bleed, leaving him paralysed from the chest down and without use of his hands. Luke has been hospitalised since the accident happened.
Sadly, Luke will be coming home in a wheelchair, with little chance of walking again. It has been a really tough time for Luke, spending 6 weeks in Southampton ICU spinal unit before being transferred to Salisbury District Hospital, Spinal Treatment Centre, where he is undergoing rehab. He works hard and has a positive attitude but it is long road ahead.
Luke is looking forward to coming home next year and for this to happen, we need to raise funds for adaptations for the areas in the home, which are not covered by the local authority. All the money raised here will go entirely towards the adaptations for Luke’s needs. We would really appreciate any contributions, whatever the amount.
We would also welcome any offer of labour with the work, whatever time you could spare and the possible supply of any materials, either from small local businesses or local suppliers – please send a message via this page.Thank you everyone – Luke and family.Thank you everyone – Luke and family.