Month: November 2015

Report: 2nds v Romsey (A), Sat. 28 Nov. 2015

Romsey II 44 IW II 36

In a thrilling game featuring no less than 14 tries, a gallant IW second string were defeated at Romsey. Both teams played positive rugby and the respective attacks trumped defences for most of the game.

IW travelled with just 14 players and were indebted to Romsey who loaned them a player to ensure a fair contest, which did transpire. The Islanders got off to a dream start inside the first five minutes, as a breakdown in a Romsey move was exploited by Colman Cotter, who kicked through and regathered for a straightforward try. Ricky Keyes’ conversion attempt hit the crossbar.

Romsey came back at IW straight away, and took a 12-5 lead before the visitors’ second try. This came from a superb move, ending in a half-break by fly-half Chris Williams, who passed  to score out wide. However, the second quarter was a difficult period for IW – firstly, they lost Ryan Stewart to injury, and then found themselves on the end of some bad luck and key refereeing decisions. Romsey capitalised on these, adding further scores before half-time for a 29-10 lead.

IW resolved to focus on the positives of the opening half and to continue their ball-in-hand policy, which bore fruit throughout the second half. The scrum was also gaining the upper hand. Their problem was in preventing tries at the other end, as an accomplished Romsey back division threatened widely. Captain and Rouse Ltd man of the match Andy Brown led by example, while Austrian international Andi Raunigger also put in a great shift. It was Raunigger who scored next after a clever back row move, but Romsey crucially answered most IW scores with one of their own, giving them breathing space.

A spell of pressure from the forwards afforded IW backs enough space to engineer a score for Tom Turtle, while experienced centre Andy White cut a great line to power over under the posts. Keyes converted both. Having trailed 44-24 at one stage, IW were now getting closer, and a scything break by Williams took him under the posts for a try which he converted himself. While it never looked likely that IW would overhaul the deficit, they were looking the stronger at the finish and rued some hefty doses of ill luck earlier in the game. Overall, the match was played in great spirit as befits games between these two clubs.

IW: Leahy, Wynyard-Wright, Turtle, White, Williams, Cotter, Newnham, Love, Keyes, Greedy, A Brown, Raunigger, Stewart.

2nds v Millbrook (H), Sat. 21 Nov. 2015

.IW II 0 Millbrook II 27

The Isle of Wight seconds suffered their first home defeat of the season at chilly Wootton Rec. There was no disputing the clearcut nature of the victory – IW did not play especially poorly, but could make little headway against a strong travelling side who will be in contention for Hampshire South-West title honours.

IW had wind advantage in the first half but found themselves behind their own posts inside five minutes, as Millbrook ran in a try from their own half. From then on, matters were fairly evenly contested; Millbrook threatened to add to their lead on a couple of occasions. However, as the half progressed, IW gained traction and increasingly began to dominate territory. Sam Spencer-Brading made a notable debut at fullback, impressing in defence, while Jim Willetts and Ashley Wright showed up well in the pack.

A notable period of pressure in the second quarter seemed certain to yield a score, and it appeared that Rouse Ltd man of the match Willetts had crashed over for a legitimate try but the referee brought play back for an IW penalty. Several penalties were awarded to IW in this lengthy passage of play, but their efforts to score a try were thwarted, and it was Millbrook who forced a breakthrough courtesy of their dangerous backs. IW trailed 10-0 at the break.

The home side had not always been happy with their defence in the first half, but shored up considerably in the second half, when they were in their own half more often. IW were desperate for quick ball to outflank their opposition, but struggled with the referee’s reluctance to penalise Millbrook at the breakdown, and were unable to generate momentum. Yet Millbrook were unquestionably the superior team, dominating the set-pieces and offering a consistent threat which earned them three further tries in the second period. IW battled to the final whistle but without managing a score.

IW: Spencer-Brading, J Bishop, McQueen, White, Turtle, Warvill, Cotter, Puzey, Keyes, Willetts, D Bishop, Greedy, Tucker ©, A Wright, Harrison. Replacement: Love.

Report: 1sts v Ellingham & Ringwood (A), Sat. 14 Nov. 2015

Ellingham & Ringwood 18 IWRFC 15
In wet, windy and muddy conditions these two sides battled out a classic bottom of the table clash. Ellingham, opting to use the elements in the first half, struggled at the set scrum throughout the game, where front row Dave Tanner, Dan Tennant and Martin Newnham were dominant. With the driving play of Ollie Boulter and Andy Brown constantly making yards against the rain, IW played well in the early stages. However, as Ellingham launched a ball deep in to the Island’s 22, an unfortunate defensive slip allowed them to score.
The Island defence was ferocious and constantly held the home side at bay with Rouse Intelligent Solutions man of the Match Alex Hay ably supported by Andi Raunigger. However when finally stretched, the defence was breached out wide.
From the kick off the Island fought back and applied pressure of their own. Debutant Matt Vann crashed over, with Harry Dye adding the kick for a half time score of 12-7.
With the focus of pinning their hosts in their own half, the Island laid siege for long sections of the half. Back three Andy Rann, Dan Stirrup and Mikey Wood ran back kicked ball to keep up the pressure and despite losing Dye to a yellow card, were kept on the front foot by veteran Neil Brading, hard running from Brett Evans and the introduction of Rich Freeman. This pressure resulted in Ryan Stewart crossing out wide to bring the scores all square. Back came Ellingham immediately to slot a penalty.
With 10 minutes left the visitors continued to press and turned down three penalties which would have yielded a draw, determined to look for the win. Despite constantly battering the home line they were only left with the consolation of a bonus point. This performance had all the grit and determination of a side that will not lie down and signals the continued improvement of the last few weeks.
Next Saturday, 21st November IWRFC host Petersfield for the 1sts and Millbrook 2nds for the 2s, kick offs at 2-00, preceded by a Vice Presidents lunch.
IWRFC: D Stirrup, A Rann, N Brading, M Vann, M Wood, H Dye, B Evans, R Stewart, A Hay, A Brown, O Boulter, A Raunigger, M Newnham, D Tennant, D Tanner, R Freeman, D Metcalfe

Report: 2nds v Basingstoke (A), Sat. 14 Nov. 2015

Basingstoke III 10 IW II 7

The Isle of Wight second string were narrowly defeated in a tremendous struggle at wet and windy Basingstoke. Travelling with only 13 players, IW arrived at the venue to discover that Basingstoke’s second team game had been cancelled, meaning they would be facing a reinforced third team. It looked like being a long and difficult 80 minutes for the Islanders, but they responded with perhaps their best performance of the season so far and were distinctly unfortunate not to come away with the win.

Basingstoke were good enough to loan IW two prop forwards, allowing the game to be played 15 a side and with contested scrums. This development aided IW as they were on top in the scrum for much of the game, especially in the opening half. Captain Mark Westley opted to play with the strong breeze. Effective kicking by half-backs Kieran Leahy and Nathan Tombleson helped to set up field position, while a hugely committed performance by the IW pack with Neil Harrison prominent ensured that their team spent virtually the entire first half in opposition territory. The pattern of the game was soon established, as IW earned plenty of possession, but got little change out of an organised and determined home defence. The first 35 minutes were scoreless, until Basingstoke broke out, kicked ahead twice, and won the race to the touchdown. This score was very much against the run of play, but gave the hosts a 5-0 lead at half-time.

Now facing the elements, matters appeared bleak for the visitors, and Basingstoke were soon on the attack. A slick backline move appeared to have cut the Island apart, but a great cover tackle by full-back Grant Sabin forced a blatant knock-on from the home winger on the goal-line. However, the otherwise excellent referee was unsighted and awarded a try, despite even the home touch judge advising a knock forward!

This could have been a hammer blow to IW, but their response showed great fortitude. Keeping the ball in hand, IW resumed their territorial dominance of the first half, stringing together multiple phases and driving at the heart of the ‘Stoke defence. All played their part, but joint Rouse Ltd men of the match Mark Tucker and Tom Turtle were tireless, captain Westley led by example, and the returning Ashley Wright was back to his best. Eventually, after a move lasting 15 to 20 phases, the powerful Dan Bishop was able to crash over for a try. Tucker added the tricky conversion, and with 15 minutes to play, IW were back within three.

The game now opened up a little, as Basingstoke kicked more efficiently and threatened with their limited possession, but IW scrambled well. They tried everything to break through for a potential winning score, but the home defence was, to its credit, impregnable and they saw out the match to the final whistle. Both teams congratulated one another on a great tussle – IW were proud of their performance, though ruing the rather dubious try awarded against them. They look forward to hosting Millbrook next time out in good spirits.

IW: Sabin, J Bishop, T Greedy, Turtle, Wynyard-Wright, Tombleson, Leahy, Love, Harrison, D Bishop, Tucker, A Wright, Westley ©.

Report: Club Squad v Hook & Odiham (A), Sat. 7 Nov. 2015

Hook and Odiham 22-22 IW
Taking a break from league action, an Isle of Wight RFC squad was invited to play the newly formed Hampshire club Hook and Odiham. The IW assembled a sixteen man squad mixed of first, second and vets players to travel to Tadley in Berkshire for this friendly fixture.
The Island dominated early possession and territory for much of the opening quarter; however it was evident at this stage that the opposition were going to be difficult to break down. The Island continued this domination into the second quarter only to be thwarted by the Hook defence on many occasions by their two powerful centres. The Island veteran paring of Cotter and Brading marshalled the Island attack well with continued pressure on the Hook defence until Hook finally conceded a penalty in front of their posts. Andy Rann kicked the Island’s first points of the game. It was now the turn of the opposition to attack – however the Island defence was holding firm until a missed tackle allowed one of the Hook centres to break away for a converted try before half time giving them a 7-3 lead.
The second half began much like the first with the Island playing attacking rugby using their big ball carriers of Boulter, Brown and Newnham who were a constant threat to the opposition. The Island camped on the Hook five metre line for a period of time and the domination of the Island scrum was rewarded when a pushover try was finished off by Ollie Boulter.
Once again Hook were quick to respond and further pressure in midfield lead to another  breakaway try which left the Island trailing 12-8. Constant work at the breakdown by Ryan Stewart and Mark Westley would reward the Island with a number of penalties. This allowed the Island to obtain some good field position. A quick tap penalty by Cotter to the powerful Andy Brown rewarded the Island with their next try under the posts which was converted by Rann giving the Island a three point lead 12-15.
The last ten minutes of the game proved to be an exciting encounter as both teams were working hard for the win; it was Hook who were next to score following a penalty in front of the Island posts bringing the scores level at 15 apiece. Further pressure by Hook would lead to them scoring another try which they also converted to take a seven point lead 22-15.
With only minutes remaining the Islands front row of Newnham, Tucker and Keyes were rewarded for their hard work by turning over an opposition scrum within their own half and allowing the Island to regain possession and push into the Hook half. Now in injury time a sustained period of pressure by the Island on the Hook five metre line would lead to a number of penalties and a yellow card for one of the Hook players. The Hook defense was resilient and it looked like they might defend their lead until Neil Brading picked out Andy Rann who carried over to score a try in the third minute of injury time. It was Rann who proved to be the Island’s saviour by converting his own try with the final kick of the game bringing the scores level at 22-22.
Island team:
Newnham, Tucker, Keyes, Westley, D Bishop,  Brown (Capt), Stewart, Boulter, Cotter, Brading, J Bishop, Wood, McQueen, Rann, Turtle, Wynyard-Wright.

Report: 2nds v Ryde (H), Sat. 24 Oct. 2015

IW II 46  Ryde  7
A second local derby in two days for IWRFC saw the 2nd XV play Ryde on Saturday. Both sides were fielding new players to their clubs, with five debuts appearing for the Island.
Both sides took a while to settle, and the visitors applied early pressure. However the first score came to the Island with Dan Bishop scoring from a driving maul. Support play down the line then saw Grant Sabin touch down. An Alex Smith charge was offloaded to Alex Hay for the supporting Matt Hallam to cross under the posts. Ricky Keyes added the conversion.
It was now a dominant time for the home side, as another Smith run was again supported by Hallam, and Keyes adding the kick. Smith then rounded off the first half with two tries; IW led 34-0 at the break.
With the Island switching their team around, some continuity was lost and Ryde came out determined for the second half. Danny Vyse crossed for Ryde, with Ben Burfitt adding the kick.
Chris Williams then broke through a gap and sprinted in to score, the kick added by Keyes. Keyes, Rouse Intelligent Finance Man of the Match, then kicked on a loose ball and Tom Turtle grounded the ball.
Both sides should be congratulated for the spirit the game was played in and the focus to play positive rugby. The Island welcome to their ranks Jacob Jordan, Matt Vann, Grant Sabin. Dan Bishop and Jayme Bishop, all showing their promise in their debut game.
IWRFC Squad: A White, J Jordan, M Vann, A James, G Sabin, S Browne, C Cotter, A Smith, A Hay, M Westley, D Bishop, T Greedy, S Brine, M Tucker, R Keyes, M Newnham, N Tombleson, N Harrison, M Hallam, T Turtle, J Bishop, C Williams, J Collinson, D Blackman, S McQueen.