Havant RFC 3XV 64-34 Ventnor RFC 1XV match report


Havant RFC 3XV 64-34 Ventnor RFC 1XV match report

Counties 3 Hampshire Saturday 9 March 2024

An away trip to league leaders Havant RFC 3rds was always going to be a tough call for a Ventnor team struggling to put out a consistent starting XV. However, one thing the Ventnor team is not lacking in is spirit, typified by the fact that no other team in the league has scored more points against the Havant side.

In the early exchanges Ventnor had a taste of what lay ahead when a failure to clear in their own 22 allowed enough space for the opposition winger to score wide-out. Some poor tackling allowed the same winger to cross again a few minutes later.

The Ventnor pack began to exert dominance in the scrum with the tight five of Grant Richardson, Lewis Jones, Ben Savill, James Green and Andy Teague providing a solid platform for the experience and guile of half-backs Fergus Kenny and Luke Butler to put Ventnor in some good attacking positions.

From one of these a switch move from Butler saw Guy Entwistle in space who spotted a chink in the home defence and put Ben Savill over for Ventnor’s first try. 12-5. Havant quickly replied with another converted try after Ventnor lost possession and then Ventnor managed to kick the ball dead, leading to a Havant scrum in the Ventnor half.

Fergus Kenny and Luke Butler get Ventnor's backline moving
Fergus Kenny and Luke Butler get Ventnor’s backline moving

Image: Sarah Watt

The Ventnor pack then won the ball against the head forcing a penalty from Havant which Butler put into the Havant 22. Driving through from the lineout captain Jones put Richardson over for a try- 19-10. Havant replied straight from the kick off to make the score 24-10 and then Ventnor did the same to Havant with Entwistle taking the restart and putting Charlie Magnurson away under the posts after a typical bulldozing run from the back-rower. The conversion from full-back Ed Blake brought the score to 24-17 and Ventnor very much in the game.

A penalty against Ventnor for being offside from a Butler clearance kick gave the speedy Havant back line another opportunity which they duly took;- 29-17. Ventnor had the last word in the first half when Jones bamboozled the home team by calling a two-man lineout. His subsequent drive put centre Sam Lines over to make the score 31-24 at the break.

Havant RFC 3XV 64-34 Ventnor RFC 1XV match report
Havant RFC 3XV 64-34 Ventnor RFC 1XV match report

The second half began in similar fashion to the first with Havant moving quick line-out ball and their inside centre, with real pace, rounded the visitor’s defence to score under the posts;- 38-24.

Ventnor again hit back after another two-man lineout and quick ball was pounced on by scrum-half Kenny who drew his man beautifully to give space for Lines to find winger Callum Martin who crossed for his first Ventnor try – a fitting reward for his commitment on the training field. 38-29. The pace of the Havant back line began to really show dividends for them and this, coupled with some tired tackling allowed them to score four tries in fairly quick succession.

The Ventnor pack, and particularly the back row of Entwistle, Magnurson and Will Broomfield were putting in a huge amount of work and the experience of Kenny and Butler kept Ventnor moving forward allowing centres Lines and Fred Fairman to take advantage of the space. Winger Dylan Gray was kept busy in defence all afternoon with the difference between the two sides being the pace of the Havant back line who always looked threatening in attack.

Jewy Jones' two-man lineouts paid dividends against Havant
Jewy Jones’ two-man lineouts paid dividends against Havant

Image: Sarah Watt

In the last ten minutes Magnurson gave way to be replaced by Brad Francis (relieved to be taken off linesman’s duties) and it speaks volumes of the character of the team that Ventnor had the final say in the game.

A period of sustained pressure after some strong forward drives, forcing Havant to concede penalties, gave Lines enough space to weave his way over for his second try to make the final score 64-34 and secure a try bonus point for Ventnor.

The Ventnor side can take a great deal of heart from this performance against a very strong Havant team that deserves its top-of-the-table position.

Some excellent forward play and slick passing in the backs produced one of the best handling displays of the season and will give the team just the boost it needs for the last three games of the season, with the next game being at Fortress Watcombe Bottom versus Aldershot and Fleet on March 16th 2024.

Meanwhile Ventnor’s high-flying Ventnor 2nd XV travel to New Milton RFC for a possible league championship decider.

Team: Richardson, Jones (capt), Savill, Teague, Green, Entwistle, C.Magnurson, Broomfield, F.Kenny, Butler, Martin, Fairman, Lines, E.Blake.
Sub: Francis

The A J Wells Men of the Match: Lewis Jones
The Red Funnel Moment of the Match: Callum Martin

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

Match Report: Clive Cardwell-Hill

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.

Ventnor RFC are not responsible for the content or security of external linked websites.