Month: November 2016

Report: 2nds v Eastleigh (A), Sat. 26 Nov. 2016

Eastleigh III 66-0 IW II

Isle of Wight RFC’s second team’s recent winning run came to a shuddering end at Bishopstoke, as they were trounced by a very strong Eastleigh. The home club are clearly thriving as all three of their sides enjoyed comprehensive home wins on the day, and their third string were comfortably the strongest opposition faced by IW this season to date.

IW had a number of new players on duty and some of the team had to play in unaccustomed positions, but none of this is to take away from Eastleigh who boasted a powerful and experienced team which IW could not match. Whether driving through the forwards or using their slick back division, Eastleigh had IW at sixes and sevens and constructed some superb tries. They were helped by some sub-standard IW defence at times, but most of their scores were the result of excellent combinations and led to a 42-0 half-time lead.

The Islanders dug deep and were more competitive for most of the second half, as the winners’ scoring dried up and IW created some chances of their own, before Eastleigh finished the stronger. Rouse Ltd man of the match Tom Turtle filled in numerous positions, while Evan Toms and James Webster were IW’s standout defenders and also were the closest to scoring; Toms made a brilliant break which was halted just short of the line, while Webster blocked an opposition clearance but the ball spun away from him just as the try seemed certain. IW thanked the four Southampton players who guested for them, and will look forward to quickly recovering from this defeat.

IW: Harley, Sabin, Toms, McQueen, Webster, T Turtle, Leahy, Aubert, Pettifer, Martin, J Bishop, Wilson, Kearney, Richardson, Greedy. Reps: Johnston, W Smith, Bowles.

Report: 1sts v Sandown/Shanklin (A), Fri. 18 Nov. 2016

Sandown & Shanklin RFC 30-24 Isle of Wight RFC

This much anticipated local derby, the first of the season, did not disappoint as the rival Island clubs served up a thrilling encounter at the Fairway. Pre-match favourites Sandown merited their victory in the final analysis, though they were put to the test by a spirited IW performance, which yielded the losing side a well deserved bonus point for finishing within seven points.

A large attendance gathered as the earlier heavy rain relented, and the teams mostly made light of tricky conditions to produce a good standard of rugby. IW came out of the blocks quickly, playing with the advantage of the slope and roaring into attack. A sumptuous planned move saw flying wing Henry Edwards touch down for a fine converted try. The home side fought their way back and pressurised the IW defence, scoring a penalty goal, which was shortly to be cancelled out by a like Lewis Murray score.

By now, some pattern had emerged, as Sandown had more of possession and battered at the IW defence, which had been porous in recent weeks but was much more resilient on the night, despite the loss of Martin Tanner to injury. Eventually Sandown broke through for a try, and shortly before half-time scored another. The latter was converted, and the eventual victors led 15-10 at the break.

With the slope now in their favour, Sandown appeared strong favourites to prevail, and they played a very effective territorial game in the second half, pinning IW back for sustained periods. It was far from one-way traffic, though, as IW looked threatening themselves. They were having particular success at the breakdown, where Rouse Ltd man of the match Lewy Morton was influential. When a Sandown move broke down, centre Owen Herbert was quickest to the loose ball, kicking through and regathering but being denied the score by a superb cover tackle. IW capitalised on their time in opposition territory though, as they strung phases together before Alex Smith barged over for the try. Murray’s conversion gave IW a 17-15 lead.

The next part of the game proved crucial, as Sandown played to their strengths, most notably a very impressive lineout and rolling maul. They regularly made significant yardage in this manner, and when Smith illegally brought down one such maul, he was sent to the sin-bin. During this ten minutes, the already pressurised IW scrum was decimated with seven men, and yielded two pushover tries to the hosts.

IW were now forced to play from even deeper in an effort to recover the eight-point deficit that had opened up, but when a move broke down, Sandown took advantage and scored again for a 30-17 lead. With 10 minutes still to play, the momentum of the match suggested that Sandown could open up a big winning margin, but IW had other ideas. They drove at the heart of the Sandown defence, forcing penalty after penalty, leading to a yellow card for a Sandown replacement. Brett Evans then made a searing break which gave the IW good field position, before the electrifying Herbert received the ball in space, rounding the defence to score a memorable try. Murray completed a perfect kicking record with the angled conversion, and IW were back within a score with a few minutes still to play. They retained the ball well in an effort to seal a dramatic win, but Sandown’s rearguard held firm and the final whistle heralded the end of a thoroughly entertaining tussle.

IW: Stirrup ©, Edwards, Herbert, Wood, Rann, Murray, Lind, Tanner, Tennant, Newnham, A Smith, Brown, Evans, Morton, Stewart. Replacements: G Smith, Toms, Warvill.

Report: 2nds v Alresford (A), Sat. 19 Nov. 2016

Alresford II 12-46 IW II

Isle of Wight RFC’s second team continued their recent good form at Alresford, winning their third game in a row in emphatic fashion. The match followed the pattern of the last two Saturdays, as the scoreline remained close until IW pulled away in the second half. Coincidentally, the free-scoring IW have registered exactly eight tries in each of the three victories.

Alresford, though enjoying a good campaign in which they were top of the Solent 3 table until last week, were depleted for this fixture. The two clubs enjoy an excellent relationship forged over the years, and IW were happy to loan them players to even up the sides. Jim Willetts, Ciaran Lowe and Tom Love all served stints for the home side, each performing with distinction.

There appeared little between the sides for most of the opening half. Alresford edged the opening quarter and were first to score, with a converted try. IW always looked threatening with quality possession though, and soon levelled the scores with a David Blackman try, converted by captain for the day Lewis Murray. The Islanders were guilty of butchering some good opportunities to take the lead when overlaps were not exploited, and over-indulged in offloads at times, but did ensure a half-time lead as Love beat two defenders and crashed over. Murray added the extras for a 14-7 lead at the break.

Though there was little between the sides on the scoreboard, IW knew that if they could keep the pace of the game high, Alresford would struggle to cope. This strategy worked and IW played some consummate running rugby in the second half, pulling clear with tries by Tom Turtle, Ricky Keyes and Sam McQueen. Keyes added a conversion, and at 31-7, IW were more or less assured of victory.

Rouse Ltd man of the match Turtle completed a hat-trick before the final whistle, his stand-out score involving a lengthy foot-rush from near the IW goal-line, and instigated by Blackman. Debutants Tommy Whiles and Adam Harbour performed exceptionally well throughout, and were increasingly in evidence as IW took over. Willetts added another from a powerful line-out maul, and the half-century was within reach. To Alresford’s credit, they finished strongly and applied sustained pressure to the IW line. IW’s defence had been strong throughout, and they held up Alresford over the line on two separate occasions to confirm their determination, but the hosts did get through for a deserved score before the end. IW look forward to another outing next week, at Eastleigh.

IW: Stewart, Harbour, McQueen, Blackman, Murray, Marriott, Turtle, Love, Keyes, Whiles,  J Bishop, Kearney, Lowe, Willetts, Leahy.

Report: 2nds v Southampton (H), Sat. 12 Nov. 2016

IW II 42-26 Southampton II

In a hastily arranged friendly, IW and Southampton served up an entertaining encounter at Wootton Rec, in which the home side prevailed.

Southampton were hit by late defections, so IW agreed to even up the teams to ensure a fair contest, Tom Turtle performing strongly for the visitors. Southampton started the stronger, dominating territory with wind advantage for the opening quarter and scoring a converted try. The returning Ashley Wright, Rouse Ltd man of the match, broke away down the touchline to reply for IW, but Southampton were soon back on the scoresheet for a 14-5 lead. IW were starting to edge matters as half-time approached, and a cross-kick by stand-in captain Kieran Leahy bounced well for Sam McQueen to touch down. Southampton led 14-10 at half-time.

IW had a job on their hands to win this game, but they had better pace and fitness overall which told in the second half. Veteran Stuart Browne sidestepped over for the lead score after a thrilling team move, then debutant Alex Hill blocked down a kick and regathered for a try. Southampton responded by taking advantage of some poor IW tackling, and the hosts led 20-19 with 15 minutes to play.

IW controlled the remainder of the game, as scrum-half Leahy’s kicks from the base pinned Southampton back, and crucially were chased superbly, leading to two tries for speed merchant Dan Greaves. A deserved try followed for the energetic Lewy Morton, before the strong running McQueen added his second, converted by Leahy. To their credit, the determined visitors finished on the attack, and finished the scoring with a converted try.

IW were pleased to back up the previous week’s away victory, and will look to complete a three in a row when they travel to Alresford next week.

IW: Greaves, N Smith, Hill, McQueen, Browne, Leahy ©, J Wright, Kearney, A Wright, Morton, Hay, T Turtle.

Report: 1sts v New Milton (A), Sat. 5 Nov. 2016

Ranger Radio – Episode 4 – The Legend of Old Williams

That pesky varmint Chris Williams, only went and scored on both pitches, for each team. Some say a legend was born on that day, others that the legend was always there, all we know, is he’s called The Williams.

Report: 2nds v Romsey (A), Sat. 5 Nov. 2016

Romsey II 12-44 IW II

An exciting all-court performance earned the Isle of Wight RFC’s second string a first away win of the season at Romsey. Fielding a very young side, IW were fitter and faster than their gallant opposition and deserved an eventually clearcut victory.

The game was close early on, and mainly due to IW wastefulness, remained in the balance until close to the hour mark. Romsey scored first and the opening 15 minutes were even, but IW would then dominate territory for the remainder of the half. With Ryan Tulloch ruling the lineout, debutant Ciaran Lowe showing up well and Rouse Ltd man of the match Stuart Browne rolling back the years in the centre, IW were always threatening, but handling errors often blighted their attempts to score when it seemed the Romsey defence had been breached. Tom Turtle did score out wide to level matters after 20 minutes, and IW took a 10-5 lead close to half-time courtesy of the strong running of Dan Bishop.

When fly-half George Huish broke clear in the first minute of the second half to score, it looked as though it might be the score that broke Romsey resistance. On the contrary, the hosts enjoyed their best spell, putting together some concerted forward drives. IW defence was strong, but eventually lapsed to yield a converted try, making the score 15-12.

Though captain Tim Greedy had departed due to injury by now, IW resolved to raise their game and play at pace, and it worked to great effect. The forward pack scrummaged well and offered great support and ball retention, while half-backs Huish and Tom Marriott dictated the game, running everything and rushing Romsey off their feet. Tries by the impressive Evan Toms and Tulloch put the game beyond the home side, while Huish completed his hat-trick and Jayme Bishop rounded off the scoring by the corner flag. Huish and Marriott added a conversion each, and IW were free to savour an entertaining game and victory.

IW: Lowe, Kearney, Toms, Browne, Huish, Marriott, McQueen, Love, T Turtle, D Bishop, J Bishop, Greedy, Tulloch, Leahy.