2nds v Millbrook (H), Sat. 21 Nov. 2015

.IW II 0 Millbrook II 27

The Isle of Wight seconds suffered their first home defeat of the season at chilly Wootton Rec. There was no disputing the clearcut nature of the victory – IW did not play especially poorly, but could make little headway against a strong travelling side who will be in contention for Hampshire South-West title honours.

IW had wind advantage in the first half but found themselves behind their own posts inside five minutes, as Millbrook ran in a try from their own half. From then on, matters were fairly evenly contested; Millbrook threatened to add to their lead on a couple of occasions. However, as the half progressed, IW gained traction and increasingly began to dominate territory. Sam Spencer-Brading made a notable debut at fullback, impressing in defence, while Jim Willetts and Ashley Wright showed up well in the pack.

A notable period of pressure in the second quarter seemed certain to yield a score, and it appeared that Rouse Ltd man of the match Willetts had crashed over for a legitimate try but the referee brought play back for an IW penalty. Several penalties were awarded to IW in this lengthy passage of play, but their efforts to score a try were thwarted, and it was Millbrook who forced a breakthrough courtesy of their dangerous backs. IW trailed 10-0 at the break.

The home side had not always been happy with their defence in the first half, but shored up considerably in the second half, when they were in their own half more often. IW were desperate for quick ball to outflank their opposition, but struggled with the referee’s reluctance to penalise Millbrook at the breakdown, and were unable to generate momentum. Yet Millbrook were unquestionably the superior team, dominating the set-pieces and offering a consistent threat which earned them three further tries in the second period. IW battled to the final whistle but without managing a score.

IW: Spencer-Brading, J Bishop, McQueen, White, Turtle, Warvill, Cotter, Puzey, Keyes, Willetts, D Bishop, Greedy, Tucker ©, A Wright, Harrison. Replacement: Love.