Fareham Heathens RFC 1XV 51-0 Ventnor RFC 1XV match report
Counties 3 Hampshire Saturday 3 February 2024
It was another tough day at the office for Ventnor RFC 1XV but – as ever with this team – there was so much to admire in their performance.
An away trip to Fareham Heathens RFC, the league leaders, was always going to be one of hope rather than expectation exacerbated by a raft of injuries and unavoidable absences. Hence Joe Coghlan was playing at scrumhalf with his usual backrow partner, Guy Entwistle, at flyhalf while the ageless Dean Magnurson came onto the flank with Will Broomfield slotting into the No 8 position.
The early exchanges were pretty even with the set scrum going Ventnor’s way as Will Harrison, George Collett and skipper Ben Savill warmed to their work with an immediate heel against the head. Coghlan was acquitting himself well as he and Broomfield forged a partnership. However soon Fareham Heathens, who were getting nowhere against the staunch defence upfront, began to move the ball to the wider channels and scored a series of excellent tries – five in the first half and four in the second. Only two were converted which illustrates how seldom the mainlanders were able to score close in.
Lewy Morton, Broomfield and Collett led the defence with notable contributions from Andy Teague and Jason Coltham whilst the cover tackling from Coghlan was exceptional. Magnurson did his usual unseen work in the rucks and mauls, slowing the opposition possession and disrupting their continuity while Harrison had his best game so far with his scrummaging, support and his ability to find his jumpers in the lineout where Ventnor prospered throughout.
Behind the pack, with the disruption caused by missing personnel, Ventnor struggled to get much go-forward but both Layton Greatorex and Fred Fairman had their moments – the latter almost scoring in the second half with a great kick and chase that allowed the Islanders to camp on Heathens’ line only for the ball to get turned over as a try was about to be scored.
As ever, Ed Blake never gave up trying to run the ball from all corners especially since he had to move to flyhalf when Entwistle had to call it a day with a recurrence of his shoulder problem. The ever-willing Brad Francis came on and was immediately into the fray as he took up an unaccustomed position on the wing. He, Harry Ottley and Callum Martin had their hands full all day as the Fareham Heathens backs ran their patterns and there was some excellent last-ditch defence evident all game.
Next Saturday is a rare day off for Ventnor which will hopefully give the injured members of the squad some time to recover.
Team: Harrison, Collett, Savill (capt), Teague, Coltham, D.Magnurson, L.Morton, Broomfield, Coghlan, Martin, Entwistle, Greatorex, Fairman, Ottley, E.Blake.
Coaches: Jason Evans
, Clive Cardwell-Hill
Physio: Sarah Watt
Match Report: JAMES MORTON
T: 07901 938 317
Ventnor Rugby Club, Watcombe Bottom, Whitwell Road, Ventnor, Isle of Wight, PO38 1LP – view on Google Maps
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