IW 35-5 Chineham
After a disappointing Hampshire One opener at Romsey last weekend, IW were back on form on home turf with a comprehensive bonus point victory over Chineham. The home side had spells where they played some excellent rugby and deserved their win fully, though having to dig deep at other stages.
The teams observed a minute’s silence prior to kick-off, in memory of IWRFC stalwarts Roy Jones and Malcolm Keith, who both sadly passed away in recent weeks. IW’s opening salvo was the best possible tribute, as they put pressure on Chineham from the off, before scrum-half Brett Evans burrowed over from close range. From the restart, IW were soon back in enemy territory, stretching the defence before Evans popped up on the wing to hand off a tackler and crash over. Lewis Murray converted both tries from the touchline, and IW led 14-0 after only six minutes.
Matters looked bleak for Chineham, but they were spirited and worked their way into the game, testing the IW rearguard with some slick back play. Meanwhile, the hosts gave up the initiative, due in part to a series of handling errors. Chineham did break through for a try on 20 minutes, and though their player was clearly in touch before crossing for the score, their contribution to the game overall merited this reward. Indeed, following this score, Chineham continued to exert some pressure on the IW defence, which was not found wanting in spite of Dan Taylor’s injury-enforced departure and Ryan Stewart’s sin-binning. IW wrested back control before half-time, and scored the pick of their tries, as combination play and swift offloads allowed Stewart to touch down. IW led 21-5 at the break.
Chineham now had wind advantage and IW knew that nothing was yet secured, finding themselves spending much of the third quarter in their own territory. They were indebted to efficient set-piece play and some crunching defence, as Gary Warvill and Rouse Ltd man of the match Mike Wood executed telling tackles. As time went on, IW again ground down Chineham and established a foothold in the visitors’ half, eventually scoring through impressive captain Dan Stirrup and securing a bonus point for their fourth try. There was time for one more in injury time, as a slick back row move from a scrum set the irrepressible Evans free to race clear from 70 metres, completing his hat-trick. Lewis Murray completed a perfect kicking record with his fifth conversion, four of which were from the touchline, and IW celebrated opening their account for the season. They now look forward to the visit of table-toppers Petersfield to Wootton Rec on Sat. 8 October.
IW: Stirrup ©, Rann, Wood, Taylor, Webster, Murray, Evans, Puzey, Newnham, Tanner, A Smith, Freeman, Brown, Tennant, Stewart. Reps: Boulter, Warvill, Williams.