Ventnor RFC 2XV 75-0 Portsmouth RFC 3XV match report


Ventnor RFC 2XV 75-0 Portsmouth RFC 3XV match report

Counties 5 Hampshire South West Saturday 6 April 2024

Portsmouth RFC 3nd XV travelled to Ventnor for the final game of the season – a game which would ultimately decide whether the Ventnor Lions squad would take home a silver or a bronze medal in their league.  The boys were leaving nothing to chance and a mighty twenty-six man squad was put forward to do battle with Portsmouth RFC

The scene was set with the final words of wisdom from Coach Neil Evans ringing in their ears and the boys then stormed out the changing room, into the sunshine and onto the field of play. 

Ventnor RFC 1XV 75-0 Portsmouth RFC 2XV match report
Ventnor RFC 1XV 75-0 Portsmouth RFC 2XV match report

From kick-off, the Ventnor Lions looked sharp, finally finding that perfect form they had been chasing all season and after just two phases from the kick-off Steve Maskell made a line break handing off two players and scoring an impressive opening try. After the next kick, Jimmy Excell caught the ball and bulldozed his way through a sea of Portsmouth players – breaking his nose in the process.

However, this didn’t put the hooker off as he was there to do a job. James Morley received the ball off the next ruck smashing through two defenders and making big ground from which Ventnor received a penalty for a high tackle.  The home team chose to scrum on the five-metre line.

Gary Ball knew exactly what to do and the 940kg pack to duly drove the Portsmouth pack over the line and Will Broomfield dropped onto the ball to score his first try of the day. It was a pattern for the match – the forward pack were unrivalled all game.

Skipper Jack Rushton took his moment, scoring a try from ten yards out with the assistance of the newly crowned flyhalf Harry Ottley. This wouldn’t be Harry’s last assist as he featured heavily throughout the game and is one to watch for future. Ross Harris, the resident superstar scrumhalf, realised the forwards had been involved in some heavy contact, with the likes of Harry Colson and James Pemberton putting in huge tackles and demoralising Portsmouth’s pack with strong runs. Therefore he decided to switch the game up and started taking any opportunity to deploy Ventnor’s impressive back line. Gavin Davis was uncompromising in attack and scored two tries in quick succession, proving he still has the magic touch and is unstoppable ball in hand.  Dan Muir – not wanting to be outshone by his counterpart – then found a gap in Portsmouth’s line and made a run from the halfway line scoring a sensational try. 

Coach Neil saw that Portsmouth were starting to wither under the constant pressure from this Ventnor Lions squad, but this was a key match and he needed to be ruthless and keep the pressure on: so it was time for bomb squad! Chris Skelly, James Green, Brad Francis, Dean Magnurson and Nathan Frampton came into the forwards and, with that many fresh legs on at once, the impact was decisive with the pack working as one they crashed through the Portsmouth lines again and again until Chris Skelly found a gap and run through to defenders like a charging bull leaving a sea of defenders in his wake and scoring a try.

Warren Riches converts in VRFC 2nds v Portsmouth 06042024 photo by IoW Observer
Warren Riches converts in VRFC 2nds v Portsmouth 06042024 photo by IoW Observer

Image: Isle of Wight Observer

Bob Parker saw his opportunity straight off the next kick off and ran like a winger side stepping several defenders and making it all the way to the 5 metre line before they finally brought the uncompromising front rower down.  However, he didn’t suffer with white line fever and shipped the ball out to Will Bloomfield who bulldozed his way over the line and collected his second try of the day.  Layton Greatorex (the sports reporter’s darling) wasn’t going to be left out he received fast ball from Ottley and stormed through the Portsmouth defence and scored an epic try. 

It was time for the back line to make some substitutions with Ewan Castle, Dylan Gray, Olly Wood and Jack Gilbey all coming on and they didn’t fail to disappoint as they made quick work of the opposition’s back line and set up Alan Fox to get a try in what Is rumoured to be his retirement game.  Henrik Brown also took to the field for his debut at Watcombe but sportingly in Portsmouth colours since the battering the visitors were taking was beginning to take its toll.

Neil Evans decided it was time for him to show he could walk the walk as well as talk the talk and he put himself in the centres with Greatorex. The deadly duo made easy work of the defensive line and Neil run in his first try in a Ventnor shirt.  In the dying minutes of the game Portsmouth began throwing everything at Ventnor so Tristan Price was brought on to steady the ship and –  with his experience in the set piece –  managed to keep the pack from losing their collective concentration.  Warren Ritches did the same for the backs not only slotting eight conversions but also marshalling Ventnor’s excellent defence so the score ended a decisive 75-0.

This comprehensive victory means that Ventnor’s 2nd XV secured the runners up position in Hampshire League 5 which is enormous credit to the squad, Jack Rushton’s leadership and the number of recruits that have joined the club over the last year or more.

Try scorers

  • Jack Rushton (C)
  • Neil Evans
  • William Broomfield – 2
  • Steve Maskell
  • Alan Fox
  • Gavin Davis – 2
  • Chris Skelly
  • Layton Greatorex
  • Dan Muir


  • Warren Ritches – 8
  • Dan Muir
  • Harry Colson
Team photo Ventnor 2nd XV v Portsmouth RFC 3rds 06042024
Team photo Ventnor 2nd XV v Portsmouth RFC 3rds 06042024

Image: James Morton. Image editing: Andrew Cooper Photography

Team: Rushton (capt), Excell, Ball, Parker, Morley, Pemberton, Colson, Broomfield, Harris, Ottley, G. Davis, Greatorex, Maskell, Muir, W. Riches
Subs: Skelley, Francis, Castle, Gilbey, D. Magnurson, Gray, Green, Frampton, Wood, Brown

The A J Wells Men of the Match: Harry Ottley
The Red Funnel Moment of the Match: Layton Greatorex

Coache: Neil Evans
Physio: Sarah Watt

Ventnor RFC would like to thank our match sponsors, namely:  Barry Pike, Tom Smith of Broadfields Park in Merstone, Keith Fradgley, Mike Buttle, Ron Hunt, Jennifer Hinton & Terry O’Bryan, The Chequers Inn, Warren Fresle and Ventnor Rotary Club.

Match Report: Jack Rushton

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

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