Month: September 2016

Report: 1sts v Chineham (H), Sat. 24 Sept. 2016

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.

An Alternative View of IWRFC by O’Pinion – 24 Sept. 2016

An Alternative View of IWRFC with O’Pinion – Sat. 24 Sept. 2016

Up to today, it would be fair to say that IWRFC had had better weeks. The sad loss of two club stalwarts dwarfed in significance a disappointing start to our Hampshire One campaign at Romsey. However, this defeat in its own way hurt those who hold the club dear. The announcement on Thursday that we were unable to muster a second team for the trip to play Stoneham did not improve the mood. And so, we looked to the firsts’ home league opener against Chineham for solace.

The squad welcomed back some familiar faces, and the day dawned positively balmy. A good crowd mustered on a good day to be alive, and after a poignant minute’s silence, the game began. Like a whirlwind, for IW. O’Pinion cannot remember, with his admittedly feeble memory, an IWRFC side ever taking a 14-0 lead inside six minutes, which is exactly what happened. Zimby was back at his rampaging best to finish off some great moves, and ‘Big Dog’ Murray, playing out of his normal second row position, landed two touchline conversions. It looked like a long afternoon for our Basingstoke-based visitors.

Then things changed a bit – Chineham showed they were up for it, and we started getting injuries. Dan Taylor would not return, and it’s hoped his knee injury is not as serious as first thought. Fryan did get back on after lots of blood and bandage, but not before the visitors had scored their try. Apparently the scorer had a foot in touch, but their hefty touch judge was rather a long way away at the time. No biggy in the grand scheme of things, though IW would have loved the clean sheet. In any case, a cracking try involving Hampshire’s best looking back row unit (according to them) gave us a 21-5 lead at half-time to face the breeze – not bad.

We were under a bit of pressure in the third quarter, but saw it out (kudos to Tanner and Gary Gary for a host of belting hits) and chased the four-try bonus. Though Mikey couldn’t catch and Freeman got white-line fever, both had good games and played their part in the last two tries, one by our excellent skipper Stirrup, and a hat-trick score by Zimby, this one a trademark dash from the next county. Five points on the board, and things already look rosier. Well played, fellas!

The club was graced today by some new Rangers, as young Tennant and Taylor made their first appearances at the Fortress. O’Pinion is particularly impressed by little James’ attendance at the tender age of four days! Hopefully the 2nds will have similar backing for their match at home to Petersfield 3rds next week, before the 1sts welcome surprise table-toppers Petersfield for their next game on 8 October.

Yet as new Rangers join us, sadly older ones left us recently. We current holders of the IWRFC flame have people such as Roy Jones and Malcolm Keith to thank for the club we have today. Their respective huge contributions to the club will not be forgotten, and it is our responsibility to follow their example, on or off the field. No doubt they would have enjoyed today’s performance and result. Thank you, gentlemen, and may you rest in peace.

Funeral Arrangements for Roy Jones and Malcolm Keith

As most people will already know the club has recently said to goodbye to two stalwart members, Roy and Malcolm.

Roy’s funeral will take place at the Crematorium at 11.15am, Monday 26 September, and afterwards at Plaish Farm (off Bowcombe Road).

Malcolm’s funeral will take place also at the Crematorium on 3pm, Friday 30 September. There will be a gathering afterwards at the Woodman’s Arms in Wootton. The family has asked to make the ceremony a celebration of Malcolm’s life and for people not to wear black unless they wish to.

It would be a fitting tribute if any member of the rugby club attending did so wearing a club tie, which represents the values, disciplines and history of our club, which both men were instrumental in shaping.

Report: 1sts v Romsey (A), Sat. 17 Sept. 2016

Romsey 50-14 IW

Isle of Wight RFC started their Hampshire One campaign in disappointing fashion at Romsey. An abject first half showing meant that a much improved second half yielded only pride and some optimism for next week.

Though a number of players were unavailable for this fixture, IW still fielded a strong lineup and the opening 10 minutes were promising, as their scrum was well on top and two penalties were won around halfway. Lewis Murray fell just short with both attempts on goal. Then Romsey gained some quick ball and cut loose, exploiting gaps in IW  defence to score the opening try.14591830_10154581924666241_7326189198162157675_n

The hosts were buoyed while IW appeared to drop their heads for the rest of the first half. Romsey were winning the contact and turning over IW ball far too readily, while IW were giving away a host of penalties. The score stood at 16-0 on the half-hour and IW appeared to be building a promising attack, when they were again turned over and Ryan Stewart was sin-binned for offending after a team warning. Stewart’s absence was seized upon by Romsey, who scored three tries before half-time for a 33-0 lead, constructing some scores well but also profiting from loose IW play and turnovers.

Strong words at half-time had the desired effect, and IW were transformed in the third quarter. Rouse Ltd man of the match Andy Brown was increasingly prominent, while winger James Webster produced an error-free debut. Though Romsey defended their line stoutly, a clearance kick went astray and Andy Rann returned it with interest for a try to break IW’s duck. Murray converted from the touchline and IW were boosted.

Waves of IW attacks now ensued, but some opportunities were not taken until a long spell of pressure saw Ricky Keyes crash over under the posts for a converted try. At 33-14 and with over 20 minutes still to play, an improbable comeback or at least a bonus point or two seemed possible. Crucially, Romsey then gained a foothold and scored their third penalty goal to steady their ship.14494810_10154581924576241_3619191853762897568_n

The final quarter was full of entertaining rugby, but IW could never recover their momentum fully, and Romsey rediscovered the threat they posed in the first half. As the game grew stretched, they added two tries in the closing minutes, the cherries on top of an encouraging start to their campaign. The Islanders were left to lick their wounds and reflect on how to bounce back at home to Chineham next time out.14523194_10154581924341241_5168976866246607390_n

IW: Williams, Webster, Stirrup ©, Warvill, Rooney, Murray, Evans, Newnham, Keyes, Tanner, Boulter, Raunigger, Brown, Stewart, A Smith. Replacements: Tucker, Rann, T Turtle.

An alternative view of IWRFC by O’Pinion

An Alternative View of IWRFC (by O’Pinion) – Sat. 3 Sept. 2016

‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year!!!!’ Not Christmas. Not the start of the X Factor, or the Six Nations, or summer. No, the most wonderful time of the year is the start of the grassroots rugby season. More specifically, the start of the IWRFC rugby season. And what a wonderful time it is to be part of IWRFC.

This week has been great for the club, represented at the National Rugby Awards at Twickenham on Thursday night last where the good ship IWRFC was nominated for Club of the Year. Spiky England scrum-half Danny Care was reported to be ‘honoured’ to meet his fellow no. 9 Colman, while chairman Ollie and past chairman Nick told Chris Robshaw at length of their back row and captaincy experience, and where he went wrong in the World Cup.

Pookay Robshaw and Ollie


Much is happening off the field, but the best thing about September is the start of the playing season. Today the 2nds opened their account in the new Solent League 3 against likely title contenders Portsmouth Veterans, and everything was in place. Panoramic Facebook images of the changing room full of spanking new kit (adorned with the club’s newest sponsors, the Anchor Inn of Cowes) stirred a warm feeling inside O’Pinion’s gut – though miles away from the ground, he could almost smell the Deep Heat, and feel the drops of sweat evaporating from the Head Coach’s forehead.

pre game

On arrival at the club at 3.40 pm (don’t ask), O’Pinion was greeted by full-back David Blackman’s family leaving. This was ominous, but he was assured that the 2nds, though trailing 12-7 at half-time, would have a strong breeze backing them in the second half. And so Tim Greedy’s charges set about wresting the game back and defending the fortress, in some style let it be said. Speedy James Fitton kicked through and outpaced the cover for the lead score. Big Aaron James took the shortest route to the try line and crashed over. Veterans Dan Taylor (how good is it to see this man back in action?) and Chris Williams combined for a sumptuous score. Fitton scored again, jinking clear and leaving Pompey grasping thin air. And there were tackles, and scrums, and lineouts and rucks. And mauls. And ultimately, a 31-17 victory. Bring on the 2nds’ first away game, at Romsey in two weeks (the firsts will be there too.)

game pic


Playing in that game looked like tremendous fun. But so was watching. Lots of familiar faces were supporting – players, ex-players, WAGs, dogs and small children. Fathers and sons watched eagerly – Kev and Dean, John and Jevon, Wally and Will (and Walter; one of our newest Rangers.) The opposition brought plenty of well lubricated support – banter and beer flowed freely. The bar area is still lovely, and the changing area renovation is not far away. An added plus – it has been confirmed by that we now have the hottest showers in Hampshire, raising more welts than the preceding 80 minutes.

Slops race

This kind of thing goes on most Saturdays, whether at Fortress Wootton or on foreign shores. Next week, an IWRFC squad hosts Cobham (2 pm kickoff). If you’re not at Bestival, you’d be well advised to come up and join in, whether playing, helping out, watching and/or drinking. O’Pinion is a Ranger – are you?

Competition Time

Chairman Ollie has decided to run a competition, a golden ticket if you will to owning a piece of IWRFC history.

IWRFC is fast approaching 400 likes on its Facebook page, and we would like to hit that 400 really soon. So this is the deal, be the 400th 401st 402nd & 404th liker’s on the page, and receive a vintage match shirt and couple of drinks at Fortress Wootton on a match day.

So tell your friends, and get them liking the page, and they could win a Metcalfe original – imagine that.