Ventnor RFC 1XV 26-37 Aldershot and Fleet RFC 1XV match report


Ventnor RFC 1XV 26-37 Aldershot and Fleet RFC 1XV match report

Counties 3 Hampshire Saturday 16 March 2024

Ventnor RFC 1XV’s sorry season continued with another game that the home team will feel they let slip away. The main inconsistencies, shown throughout the season, were again in evidence; namely the inability to select a settled side week on week and failure to execute some basic skills on the pitch.

A re-jigged side welcomed back veterans Todd Riches and Adam Pratt Jr and also the return of Ben, and the un-related Ryan, Cooper. Problems with the ferries meant that Ventnor had to adjust their starting line-up because Ryan Cooper was delayed, so Ben Cooper started at scrum-half and Riches slotted in at stand-off.

A familiar pattern emerged when Ventnor lost possession right from the kick-off and from the resultant scrum the visitors pressed toward the Ventnor line and a quickly taken penalty resulted in the Aldershot and Fleet RFC flanker going over for a try near the posts. The successful conversion meant Ventnor were 0-7 down in the first 3 minutes.

However, the home side regrouped and an abrasive run from lock Jason Coltham put Ventnor into the opposition 22 to open up a 4 v 2 overlap but when pressing for the line the ball being moved along the back line was intercepted by the visitors’ full back who then ran the length of the pitch to score under the posts. 0-14. Ventnor hit back straight away and more Ventnor pressure in the visitors 22 gave Fred Fairman the chance to score under the posts, with full-back Ed Blake landing the conversion. 7-14.

Aldershot and Fleet RFC then replied in turn with possession from a scrum out wide and some lack-lustre tackling (which has become a habit recently) enabled the speedy full-back to cross for his second try. 7-21.

Ventnor still kept their heads up and with the lineout working well thanks to Jo Coghlan and Lewy Morton(with assistance from lifters Andy Teague and Coltham) good ball from a lineout resulted in a try for Riches after a strong run from back-rower Guy Entwistle.14-21 A couple of penalties resulting from the home team straying offside and then being marched back 10 metres for talking to the referee enabled the visitor’s fly-half to kick a penalty;- 14-24.

Ryan Cooper then entered the fray to replace Ben Cooper and his injection of pace, coupled with good service to Riches, gave space for the centres Sam Lines and Fred Fairman to make some threatening runs but the frustration of either losing possession or being impatient and trying to force the final pass meant that Ventnor went into the break 10 points adrift.

Ventnor RFC 1XV 26-37 Aldershot and Fleet RFC 1XV match report
Ventnor RFC 1XV 26-37 Aldershot and Fleet RFC 1XV match report

Some strong words from captain Lewis Jones at half-time woke the home side up and right from the start of the second half Ventnor pushed into the visitors 22 where a break from Ryan Cooper put Lewy Morton in for a try.

Another conversion for Blake and the score now 21-24 with Ventnor seeming to get the upper hand. This was more evident a few minutes later when the Ventnor scrum (again performing well) managed to push the A&F pack off their own ball enabling Ryan Cooper to break away and Riches crossed for his second try. Blake couldn’t add the extras but now Ventnor had edged in front 26-24 and the home team supporters began to think a victory was on the cards.

Ventnor’s progress was hampered by a head injury to winger Callum Martin (who, along with fellow winger Dylan Grey) had been kept more busy in defence than attack. With Martin being forced to retire Ventnor had to ring the changes; flanker Coghlan went out to the wing with Nathan Frampton coming into the back row and Ben Cooper returning to stand-off in place of Riches.

Images: Isle of Wight Observer

Will Harrison also came off the bench to replace Pratt in the front row and Ventnor looked to build on their slender lead. More strong running with ball in hand from Coltham (having his best game in a while) and Grant Richardson gave the side some good attacking positions but the key words of patience and possession were too frequently forgotten and opportunities missed.

Another reshuffle in the back line and Riches returned at fly-half with Ben Cooper moving to full-back to replace Blake.

The home sides’ problems mounted when Aldershot and Fleet RFC achieved a rare strike against the head at a scrum and quick ball was converted into a try. The kick was successful and Ventnor now trailed 26-31.

Images: Isle of Wight Observer

Any hopes of a revival were fading as indiscipline started to rise; another offside decision and A&F extended their lead to 26-34.

Another Ventnor push into the visitors’ half was thwarted by a deliberate knock-on resulting in a yellow card. Ventnor couldn’t capitalise on having the extra man which was short-lived when Entwistle was deemed to have made a late tackle and received a yellow which saw him sit out the remainder of the game. The successful penalty gave the visitors the victory at 26-37 and another game which Ventnor let slip.

With only two games remaining, with the next fixture being the always difficult away game at Overton. Ventnor will hope to make amends for the 12-12 draw at the home fixture with a strong turnout for the last away game of the season.

Team: Richardson, Jones (capt), Pratt, Teague, Coltham, Coghlan, L.Morton, Entwistle, B.Cooper, T.Riches, Martin, Lines, Fairman, Gray, E.Blake
Subs: Harrison, Frampton, R.Cooper

The A J Wells Men of the Match: Ryan Cooper
The Red Funnel Moment of the Match: Lewis Todd riches

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

Ventnor RFC would like to thank our match sponsors, namely: CP Bathrooms, Groundsells, La Tour du Monde, Norris Family Grocers, Reynolds and Read, Steve Camm, The Crab Shed, Dorothy Muncaster and The White Horse, Whitwell.

Match Report: Clive Cardwell-Hill

Best Regards


Ventnor RFC
T: 07901 938 317

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