An Alternative View of IWRFC with O’Pinion – Sat. 8 Oct. 2016

The IWRFC faithful (some a little worse for wear after helping club stalwart Colman to celebrate his big birthday the previous night) gathered in strength after a two-week break, for a much anticipated first team game against table-toppers Petersfield. After a shocking opener at Romsey and then a comprehensive win over Chineham, some felt that this would give an accurate reading of where the side is at. And did it? Well…

It was a lovely day for rugby (as is every day.) Petersfield looked slick early on, with a much changed back division from last year, and a penalty goal rewarded their early efforts. IW looked good too though, retaining the ball and making some inroads. It was gutting then, to see a long spell of pressure end with an interception and eventually a try at the other end – 10-0 down.

O’Pinion watched with interest how the home Rangers would react to this setback. Very well, as it turned out. Captain Futa showed the way with some cracking bursts, Scots scrummie Ramsay sniped and buzzed, and debut full-back Owen oozed class. It was no more than we deserved when Broon crashed over, and Gary Gary nailed the kick; game on.

Petersfield look to have elements of the real deal, though – their 10 was a serious handful and things didn’t go so well in the second quarter – 20-7 at the break. O’Pinion retired to the bar for to finish off his Diet Coke, and his mood was not improved to see Munster get beaten by Leinster on the telly box. Never mind – back to the main event.

We’d lost Gary in the first half, but our other newbie H (Henry? Harry? Hilton? from Steps?) slotted in well at fly-half and also had a good debut. The pattern of the match was now well established, and can be summed up as follows – IW had their fair share of the play, and spent plenty of time in the coveted ‘green zone’, but didn’t make it count. Petersfield deserved the win because they came away with points when they had chances, but we didn’t. Ryan got in another ruckus, but we forgot to score a try, and soon were 20 points down.

Encouragingly, IW finished strongly. Owen scored a cracking try, and though Petersfield were always dangerous, the home side played good stuff – being let down by handling errors or miscommunication. The day it all clicks will be a lot of fun. Fun may be defined as watching Martin Tanner empty an opposition player with a monstrous tackle seconds before the final whistle. 27-12 it finished – could have been worse, could have been better. Petersfield definitely look like contenders, but IW might have run them very close on another day. This team knows it can go to Farnborough in two weeks and win, but only if the dreaded travel sickness is kept at bay. That is in IWRFC’s power, by the way.

O’Pinion soon learned by the miracle of modern technology that the 2nds had been defeated at Basingstoke, but had put in a valiant showing – as has become the norm, against their2s rather than the advertised 3s. Tim Greedy’s Rangers also seem to be having a good old drink judging by the photos. Well done fellas. Onwards and upwards.

PS – by way of a short diversion, there were plenty of Ventnor and Sandown/Shanklin spectators at the Rec. today. This arose from the latter having a free week, while Ventnor received a walkover from Romsey. A handy five points for the South Wighters, but no doubt they would have preferred to play the game. One is bothered by the number of cancellations that seem to be creeping in recently, last season and now this campaign. It’s nothing new to see 2nds games melt away, but walkovers at 1st team level are becoming an unwelcome and more regular occurrence.

O’Pinion read an interesting article during the week, explaining a drop off in participation in sports such as golf, football, rugby and others, and speculating about possible causes: increased work pressures, squeezing of family time maybe, but also people not getting off their arses because they’re addicted to Netflix and their frigging phones. Worrying trend, or just a phase we’re going through? Who knows. Hopefully, Saturday will always be rugby day, for us and the generations who follow us.