Month: February 2016

Match report: 2nds v Ventnor (A), Sat. 27 Feb. 2016

Ventnor II 14 IW II 15

After two comprehensive defeats away to the top sides in Hampshire Merit SW, the Isle of Wight second team were back on the winning trail in this local derby, completing a double over Ventnor this season. This was the proverbial game of two halves on the scoreboard, as Ventnor took a 14-0 lead at halftime before being overhauled in the second period.

The hosts had the advantage of a significant breeze in the first half, though IW had the better of possession for much of the half, based especially on a strong scrum performance. Ventnor’s defence was solid though, and IW were guilty of being loose in possession which gave up opportunities. Ventnor capitalised, firstly with an early try from long range, and later with a score from closer in. Both tries were converted from difficult angles, so IW trailed 14-0 at the break.

After uncontested scrums were requested for the second half, one of IW’s strengths was taken away, but they now had the wind and spent most of the second half in Ventnor territory. Though still guilty of excessive offload attempts, they were taxing the overworked home defence, who were understandably beginning to tire. Rouse Ltd man of the match Alex Smith was a particularly prominent ball-carrier, but replacements Aaron James and Ben Cox also caught the eye. James scored IW’s opening try after 50 minutes, finishing an efficient move out wide.

The eventual winners did not find it easy to overcome the deficit and botched some opportunities, but were beginning to tighten up their play sufficiently, leading to a second try scored by Tom Turtle, another replacement. Now trailing by just four points, IW had the bit between their teeth and after one of their best moves of the game, centre Sam McQueen was freed to crash over out wide. Ventnor roused themselves in an effort to rescue the game, but the IW rearguard were not in the mood to relinquish their advantage and saw out the remaining minutes.

Captain Colman Cotter afterwards reflected on a match that IW felt they should have won by more given their overall control of possession and territory, though they were grateful just to win the spoils considering the half-time deficit. They will hope to follow up in their next game at home to Portsmouth on Saturday.

IW: Greaves, Rogers, McQueen, Brading, J Bishop, Williams, Cotter, Brine, Willetts, M Tanner, Puzey, Harrison, A Wright, Borrer, A Smith. Replacements: James, Cox, Cansdale, Wynyard-Wright, Turtle, Barrett.

Report: 1sts v Ellingham & Ringwood (H), Sat. 20 Feb. 2016

IW 22 Ellingham & Ringwood 12

Isle of Wight RFC recorded a valuable Hampshire One victory at Wootton Rec, enabling them to leapfrog their opponents into eighth place with the hope of further wins to come in the coming weeks. Though not performing at the heights of their recent home win over Fordingbridge, IW played enough constructive rugby to merit their win.

Conditions were difficult for both sides, as rain fell shortly before kickoff and for a time during the first half, but there was plenty of continuity for the supporters to enjoy. IW had the strong wind at their backs for the first forty minutes and knew they would have to make this advantage count. They started well and showed the capacity to stretch the visiting defence left and right, eventually yielding a seventh minute try for winger Andy Rann in the corner. E & R’s response was swift, mauling a lineout catch close to the IW line before one of their players broke off for the touchdown. This try was cheaply given up from a home point of view, and the conversion left IW behind 7-5.

With wise use of the breeze, IW spent most of the rest of the half in enemy territory. They mixed some great direct carries and offloading with an annoying tendency to mess up the final pass, which meant that several opportunities to score were not taken. Nevertheless, they regained the lead with a similar try to the opposition effort, mauling well before scrum-half Brett Evans sniped over from close range. This was soon followed with a third try, as the forwards drove well to open up the full width of the pitch to their backs, who gratefully used the space and allowed Chris Williams to score in the left corner. IW could have scored more, but had to settle for a 15-7 lead at the break.

Opinion was divided on whether this lead was enough in the light of having to face the wind in the second half, but IW played their best rugby in the third quarter and effectively secured victory. They spent all of this period in E & R’s half, thanks in part to a hugely effective scrum performance. Half-backs Evans and Harry Dye orchestrated matters expertly, while debutant Ramsay Lind and Rouse Ltd man of the match Alex Hay particularly caught the eye. After opting from a scrum from a close-range penalty, an eight-man shove allowed no. 8 Ryan Stewart to touch down. Dye converted for a 22-7 advantage.

IW did not build on this lead as they would have liked, though this fourth try ensured a bonus point with half an hour still to play. The visiting defence dug in well and repelled the home efforts, before the pendulum swung – the last ten minutes plus a similar amount of injury time were played in the IW half as E & R sought a way back into the game, or at least a bonus point. They scored a good try as normal time elapsed, and threatened to add another but were met by better resistance from IW to see the game out.

This win moves IW further from the relegation places and they will now be training their sights on seventh-place Farnborough. Next week sees a re-arranged game at Bognor.

IW: Stirrup ©, Rann, Lind, Murray, Williams, Dye, Evans, Puzey, Tennant, Newnham, A Smith, Boulter, Brown, Hay, Stewart. Replacements: M Tanner, James, Tucker.

Match report: 2nds v Tottonians (A), Sat. 13 Feb. 2016

Tottonians IV 32- 5 Isle of Wight II
This was to be the  Isle of Wight second string’s  first game of 2016 following six weeks of games abandoned due to weather or opposition cancellation. Therefore, travelling to the top of the league and unbeaten Tottonians 4ths was a daunting task.
Travelling without substitutes, the IW upon arrival  discovered the Tottonians ranks had been swelled due to postponement of their first, second and third team fixtures. Conditions were wet but the game got underway regardless. The first ten minutes were spent with both teams testing their defences via forwards and back moves. During this phase the  reliable hands of full back Tom Turtle were well tested. Stout defensive displays from IW’s front eight battled hard against the vastly experienced and physically larger Totts pack, until following a number of controlled phases, Tottonians opened the scoring with a converted try.
The Totts fly half’s kicking display continued to ensure the opposition great field position where their well drilled set piece was fruitful in the first half scoring another try.  Totts also kicked two penalties to take a commanding 18-0 half time lead.
IW then had to contend with a completely new team being fielded at the break where Totts made replacements  in what appeared to be in all positions. It was Totts who scored first with an early pushover try from the scrum despite determined efforts by the away pack.  Things were looking worrying for the Islanders and the flood gates looked potentially about to open. However the IW XV rallied and a conscious decision to up the game tempo meant the Island spent the next twenty minutes playing some creative attacking rugby and began to test the Totts defence in all areas. Up front the second row partnership  of Tim Greedy and Dan Bishop began to make inroads in the opposition defence with some big carries , supported by the back row efforts of Ryan Stewart and Brandon Frost- Jones which began to provide quick ball for IW debutant and Rouse Ltd man of the match Jacob Jordan to release the backline’s attack
 IW were now camped in the opposition half for long periods and many phases; however the home side’s well organised defence was well up to the  task and they continued to repel the IW attacking efforts. Winger Dan Greaves began to find space out wide and his pace troubled the home defence on many occasions, but handling errors and decision making meant IW were unable to take advantage of their dominance and field position during this phase of the game.
The team finally got off the mark and possibly scored the try of the match, stemming from defending in their own 22.  Fly half Colman Cotter was forced to run out of defence and found centre Andy Rann who picked the only space in the Totts defensive line. Rann was then supported by full back Tom Turtle who bulldozed three would be tacklers before off-loading to Jamie Bishop to score his first try for the club. IW continued to create further attacking phases but another try by the home side would see the home team maintain their deserved unbeaten record and position at the top of the table.
 
R. Keyes, T. Love, M. Newnham, T.Greedy, D. Bishop, B. Frost-Jones, R. Stewart, J Jordan, C. Cotter  (capt), D Stirrup,  A. Rann, T. Turtle, D. Greaves, J. Bishop, J Wynyard-Wright.