Ventnor RFC 1XV 29-13 Eastleigh Pirates RFC 2XV match report


Ventnor RFC 1XV 29-13 Eastleigh Pirates RFC 2XV match report

Counties 3 Hampshire Saturday 17 February 2024

It was an unusual luxury for Ventnor to be able to pick from an almost full-strength squad for this Hampshire league encounter against a strong Eastleigh RFC 2XV side. In front of the usual enthusiastic Watcombe crowd, the match began in a pretty even fashion with defences on top. The damp conditions and the soggy ground called for a territory game but Ventnor RFC 1XV were playing their usual expansive game from any corner of pitch.

This led to some difficult moments when the ball went to ground or was turned over especially as Eastleigh RFC had an excellent kicking game that pinned the home side back.

It was Ventnor who put the first points on the board with a penalty from Ed Blake after a sustained attack. This settled a few nerves but the game entered into a state of stalemate in which the tackling count from both teams was exceptional.

Ben Savill was leading by example both in the set-piece – where he and his front row colleagues, Will Harrison and George Collett gained parity against a much heavier pack – and in the loose where he barging runs provided a spearhead for his fellow forwards in which Jason Coltham was having another superb game and making the extra hard yards.

Joe Coghlan and Lewy Morton were putting pressure on the opposition’s throw into the lineout which stopped Eastleigh from taking advantage of their gains in territory and any wide-out attacks were stemmed by the commitment in the tackle by Fred Fairman and Callum Martin.

The highlights of the half were an excellent break out from Blake that almost put Fairman in down the right and some kick and chase rugby by Sam Lines where the bounce – or lack of it – just evaded the hands. Just before the break, Eastleigh were awarded a penalty which they slotted so that the half ended with the scores even. 3 – 3.

Ventnor RFC 1XV 29-13 Eastleigh Pirates RFC 2XV match report
Ventnor RFC 1XV 29-13 Eastleigh Pirates RFC 2XV match report

The second half started with a welcome return for Lewis Jones who came on for the ever-improving Will Harrison. Ben Cooper replaced Martin whose confidence rises with every game.

Ventnor’s fitness began to show dividends, epitomised by Guy Entwistle who had a storming game off the back of the scrum and he, Savill and Jones began to soften up Eastleigh’s midfield defence so that Josh Rettie at flyhalf was able to start running things and put Lines, Layton Greatorex and Cooper through the gaps.

This led to Ventnor’s first try of the day scored by Rettie himself after good rugby from Collett, Coghlan and Greatorex. Blake converted. More excellent work by the pack and quick service from Ben Souter led to a second try – this time from Greatorex who was given an inch of space on the left by slick passing from Rettie and Lines. The muscular centre made short work of the remaining defence and swept over the line for his first try for Ventnor.

To their credit, Eastleigh came back hard and Greatorex was shown a yellow for a high tackle after a sustained defensive shift by Ventnor in which Fairman and Coltham were on point.

Eventually the visitors settled for a penalty even though they were a man up and needed to speed the game up. Ventnor went back on the attack and a fluid move was halted by an interception which was only stopped by an extraordinary chase back and tackle by second-row Andy Teague.

Layton Greatorex scores against Eastleigh 17022024 Photo by Simon Dear
Layton Greatorex scores against Eastleigh 17022024 Photo by Simon Dear

After this heroic bit of defence, Ventnor’s coaches deemed that Teague needed a rest and Grant Richardson came on to add his brand of power and deceptive speed to Ventnor’s armoury and this helped in setting up Sam Lines who danced through for a terrific try which Blake converted and put the home side in the clear.

Eastleigh scored a consolation try when the home side switched off for a second but it was Ventnor who finished strongly and Guy Entwistle scored the try his performance deserved after a quick-fire heel against the head. With the try bonus point in the bag, Blake once more converted from far out. Final score 29 – 13

Ventnor 1st xv v Eastleigh 2nd xv 17022024
Ventnor 1st xv v Eastleigh 2nd xv 17022024

Image: Simon Dear

Team: Harrison, Collett, Savill (capt), Teague, Coltham, Coghlan, L.Morton, Entwistle, Souter, Rettie, Martin, Lines, Greatorex, Fairman, E.Blake
Subs: Jones, Richardson, Cooper

The A J Wells Men of the Match: Josh Rettie
The Red Funnel Moment of the Match: Lewis Jewy Jones

Coaches: Jason Evans
, Clive Cardwell-Hill
Physio: Sarah Watt

Ventnor RFC would like to thank our match sponsors, namely: Bonchurch Garage, HRD Auctions, K Coghlan Plant & Transport, Martyn Newbury Roofing, Ron Gisborn, Mark Cufflin, Debbie Cardwell, The Bonchurch Inn, Traditional Brick and Stone Ltd, Wight Shipyard Co.

Match Report: JAMES MORTON

Next Ventner RFC Fixtures – Saturday 2 March 2024

Ventnor 1XV have next weekend off. Their next game is when they travel to play Havant RFC 3rds on 2nd March 2024.

Best Regards


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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