Month: April 2016

Report: 2nds v Romsey (H), Sat. 9 April 2016

IW II 22 Romsey II 27

Isle of Wight RFC’s second string concluded their Hampshire South-West campaign with a narrow home defeat against Romsey, leaving them with a likely fourth place finish in the league. It was planned that both clubs would also play a first team friendly on the day, but when Romsey cancelled that fixture on the morning of the game, they could field a bolstered team for the second team fixture. With continued excellent player availability leading to a huge squad, IW did not need to call on their first teamers who lent support from the touchline. They used 28 players in all, only captain Colman Cotter and Reuben Mitchell playing the full 80 minutes. Mitchell’s role in a dominant scrum and in the loose won him the man of the match award.

A fast and open game of eight tries ensued with both teams playing expansive rugby in great conditions, though a strong wind blew down the pitch and favoured IW in the first half. Romsey were more direct with an edge in the forward exchanges and took the lead with a converted try, but IW were soon on the attack, debutant flanker Calvin Edwards showing up well. The initial opportunity was not taken after the final pass went astray, but from a quick penalty, no. 8 Alex Smith crashed over for the try.

Attacks were on top in the opening quarter, Romsey exploiting some IW defensive indecision for a second try from their main danger man and a 12-5 lead. IW again replied before long, as a fine move was finished by speed merchant Dan Greaves. The second quarter was scoreless as the pace of the game slowed a little, and Romsey took a 12-10 lead into the break.

IW made a total of ten substitutions at half-time, which was always likely to lead to a period of confusion, but to their credit many of the replacements made immediate impacts. Yet Romsey took advantage of the wind at their backs, having the better of territory for a spell, kicking a penalty and then scoring a good try to extend their lead to 20-10 after 50 minutes. IW struggled at the breakdown and with the referee’s interpretation of the laws, but always posed a threat when generating quick ball. Fly-half James Fitton had almost scored a memorable try in the first half, but showed his pace when finishing off a fine move in the corner for a score which he brilliantly converted himself.

Now in the ascendancy and cheered on by a big crowd, IW took the lead with another super try by replacement Ryan Cooper. To Romsey’s credit, they fought back. Though IW defence was creditable  at first, it wilted and yielded a converted try with four minutes remaining. The hosts had two more chances to rescue the game, but errors forced by resolute Romsey defence proved their undoing. IW emerged with credit from the match and a successful league season, which featured improved player availability and regular fixtures for most of the season. They conclude the season with two home friendlies against Hook & Odiham and Locksheath Pumas.

IW: Blackman, Greaves, McQueen, Cox, J Bishop, Fitton, Cotter ©, Mitchell, Tucker, Willetts, Harrison, Greedy, Edwards, Rob Vaughan, A Smith, Love, Savill, Aubert, Turtle, Vince, White, W Vaughan, Rich Vaughan, Sabin, Wynyard-Wright, Cooper, Stirrup, Wood.

Report: 2nds v Fawley (H), Sat. 26 Mar. 2016

IWRFC 43 Fawley 7

With returning students and a large availability, the Island’s second string dominated the majority of the match against a determined and plucky visiting Fawley.

Early pressure at the scrum allowed the three quarter line to move the ball, resulting in James Fitton dancing over and converting. The Island then had a number of opportunities, only for the last move to break down. With the ball moved along the line again, Grant Sabin crossed for Fitton to convert.

With each opportunity the Island side moved the ball and credit must go to the visitors for stout last minute defence. But the Island broke through with Ben Ridley crossing and Fitton again kicking for a 21-0 half time lead.

Turning round and having changed most of the side, the home side took a while to settle back in to the game.

Matt Vann, in his last game before leaving the Island, crossed over to score. Back came Fawley with a session of sustained pressure, and they finally crossed the home line and added the kick.

The home side upped the pace of the game and added tries by Lewis Murray and Jacob Jordan before Vann completed the scoring.

Second row Dan Bishop was awarded the Rouse Ltd Man of the Match award for his constant support and driving play.

IW: G Sabin, D Blackman, G Huish, B Cox, E Rogers, J Fitton, C Cotter, R Freeman, T Hatch, T Turtle, T Greedy, D Bishop, M Newnham, R Keyes, D Thirlby, J Bishop, M Vann, S McQueen, C Cansdale, L Murray, J Jordan, A Smith, B Ridley, A Vince, M Aubert, A Brown, J Wynyard-Wright, G Warvill, T Marriott.