Match report: 1sts v Fareham Heathens (H), Sat. 11 Nov. 2017

IW 12-14 Fareham Heathens                         Report by Dave Metcalfe

The Island were defeated with the last kick, awarded for a debatable and crucial decision. In damp conditions, both sides were off the pace in the first half, with some confusion caused by strange decisions and a constant stop-start game.

Visitors Fareham were first to register with a penalty and went further ahead with their second kick.

Lewis Murray responded with the Island’s first points.

The half then came to life as Fareham pounded the Island line, yet solid and physical defence kept them at bay.

The second half saw Murray add his second penalty.

Again the Island defended their line, but after winning a turn over failed to exit the ball, allowing the visitors to have a five metre scrum.

However with the scrum over 90 degrees and the visitors’ front row standing up, the play was allowed to continue and Fareham crossed for a score.

This drove the home side forward and the pressure led to two more Murray penalties.

So coming to the last five minutes the Island were defending a one point lead.

Stout defence kept Fareham at bay until the final play. With a defensive scrum, Number 8 Alex Hay picked and went to ground. The scrum was then driven back and fell on him. A penalty was awarded, to all dismay.

Up stepped the visitors’ kicker who managed to clear the bar to win the game.

IWRFC: G Warvill, C Williams, L Chandler, M Wood, G Huish, L Murray, T Marriott, A Hay, D Egan, D Tennant, O Boulter, R Tulloch, R Keyes, S McQueen, M Newnham. Rhys Martin, C Pudney, J Sweatman.

Match report: 1sts v Ellingham & Ringwood (A), Sat. 4 Nov. 2017

Ellingham & Ringwood 42 IWRFC 12

The Island were unable to follow up their previous weeks performance and ran out a good second to Ellingham & Ringwood.

Following an early home penalty,  the Island crossed the line with a James Fitton try following forward pressure. Against the run of play, the home side crossed for a converted try, before adding a further penalty.

With only a score between the sides, it had been the Islanders who had created most in the first half.

But the second half was dominated by the home side as they added a further try. The Island responded with Tom Marriott throwing a dummy to the Ellingham defence and sprinting in, Lewis Murray adding the kick.

From here on the home side took control to stretch away to victory.

IWRFC: G Warvill, J Fitton, L Chandler, G Huish, J Sweatman, L Murray, T Marriott, A Smith, D Blackman, A Hay, O Boulter, R Tulloch, R Keyes, D Tennant, M Newnham, C Pudney, C Williams

Match report: 1sts v Fordingbridge (H), Sat. 28 Oct. 2017

IW 32 Fordingbridge 29                     Report by Dave Metcalfe

The Isle of Wight returned to winning ways with a well-earned victory against Fordingbridge rugby club. The first half saw the Island dominate both territory and possession through the cool heads of halfbacks Lewis Murray and Tom Marriott. After a couple of first half penalties from Murray, the Isle of Wight scored from a push over try with Alex Smith being the grateful recipient. The Island continued to heap pressure through the forwards with stella work from Keyes, Blackman and McQueen. The forwards hard work resulted in a scrum which saw Smith picking up from the base and running forty meters whilst swatting off several defenders to score in the corner.

Minutes later Isle of Wight super star Owen Herbert, feeling that his title as ‘leading try scorer’ was under threat, decided to take on half the Fordingbridge pack and then run 45 meters to score under the posts.

The second half saw the Island relinquish some of their control with Fordingbridge capitalising on some loose handling. Up stepped man on the match Andi Raunigger who brought physicality and intensity to the Island’s defence effort which helped to steady the ship, many spectators likening his performance to rugby great Paul Simpson! The island continued to aggressively defend which saw super sub Mikey Wood smash his opposite number, collect the ball and sprint clear to score under the posts.

Fordingbridge did not lie down and continued to press scoring a couple of late tries which brought them to within touching distance of a win. The Isle of Wight dug deep with Boulter and Blackman turning into tackling machines to shut down the Fordingbridge comeback and give the Island a much deserved victory.

IWRFC:

O Herbert, T Turtle, L Chandler, G Huish, G Warvill, L Murray, T Marriott, A Smith, D Blackman, A Hay, A Raunigger, O Boulter, R Keyes, S McQueen, M Newnham. J Willetts, D Egan, M Wood.

Match report: 2nds v US Portsmouth (H), Sat. 28 Oct. 2017

IW II 29-7 US Portsmouth II

A clear-cut victory was the result of a strong performance by the Isle of Wight RFC’s second team at Wootton Rec on Saturday. Fielding a sizeable squad which notably included five natives of County Cork in Ireland, the IW laid the foundations for the victory with set-piece supremacy and greater firepower behind the scrum.

In glorious conditions, IW started best and scored first, as the impressive Dillan Egan finished off a concerted spell of pressure. The Services side hit back almost immediately as IW failed to clear their lines, and the touchline conversion gave USP a 7-5 advantage.

A close battle ensued, as IW faced the wind but had more possession. This was in part due to a superior scrum and Nick Joyce’s domination of the lineout, though the loss of James Curran to injury was a blow. As the half drew towards a close, USP’s defence creaked and IW exploited some gaps. Firstly, the evergreen Andy White crashed over in the corner, before powerful prop and Rouse Ltd man of the match Rhys Martin broke a tackle to touch down. Ryan Stewart converted the latter try and IW led 17-7 at the break.

With the wind and sun at their backs, matters seemed stacked in IW’s favour, but USP dug in and the third quarter was evenly contested, IW edging territory but being sloppy in their execution at times. Standout performances in this half came from Irish guest Shane Hennessy and battling flanker Ian Bennett. When the hosts did string phases together, some excellent rugby was on show and a slick move ended in a try for Mark Waterer on his return to rugby after a lengthy absence. Stewart converted again, and was rewarded for a busy performance by sneaking over for the insurance score with the final play of the game.

IW: Leahy, Harley, White, Gates, Tombleson, Stewart, Cotter, Martin, Pettifer, Hennessy, Egan, J Bishop, Bennett, Joyce, Curran. Replacements: Waterer, Pudney, Jones, Thomas, Sellick, Metcalfe, L Blackman, O’Connell.

Match report: 1sts v US Portsmouth (A), Sat. 21 Oct. 2017

US Portsmouth 52-10 IW

The Island travelled to their near mainland neighbours on a blustery Saturday. Despite the continued injury list at the club, players stepped up to the challenge of playing the second placed side in Hampshire One.

Playing with the wind, the Island struck first with a Lewis Murray 45 metre penalty.

The home side used their larger pack to force back the visitors and their scrum, close to the line allowed them to gain a 21 to 3 half time lead.

However the second half saw a focussed and determined Island team, playing in to the wind, dominate much of the possession and territory for some 25 minutes. Constant solid defence and aggressive ball carrying allowed the Islands backs to make headway.

A break by Owen Herbert, linking with Tom Turtle to carry up the wing, saw the ball back inside to Herbert to score. Murray adding the conversion.

However the last 15 minutes saw the Island understandably tire and USP crossed for three tries.

All players performed well, with James Curran, Dillan Egan and Andi Raunigger standing out in the forwards, while Murray led the team with thought and focus.

Match report: 2nds v Ventnor (A), Sat. 14 Oct. 2017

Ventnor II 7-41 IW II

Isle of Wight RFC’s second team recorded a good friendly victory over hosts Ventnor at Watcombe Bottom. In a sportingly contested match arranged in conjunction with the IW Beer and Buses Festival, IW always looked likely winners due to their greater firepower, in particular behind the scrum.

There was little to choose between the sides in the opening quarter, but with a dominant scrum and some slick phase play, IW began to take control and a break by excellent scrum-half Dave Hanson set up the opening score for George Huish. Though it was by no means one-way traffic, IW looked far more likely to score throughout, as Hanson darted over from close range following a flowing move. He then added his second courtesy of a great dummy and searing break. IW led 19-0 at half-time.

Matters proceeded in a similar vein on the restart, with fly-half James Fitton proving a particular threat, helping himself to two tries and setting up opportunities, finished by David Blackman and Luke Chandler. Fitton also added three conversions, but Ventnor were spirited throughout and finished well, scoring a merited converted try in the closing minutes.

IW players Ryan Stewart, Nathan Tombleson and Lewis Murray guested for the hosts, while the victors gave debuts to Dan Jeffrey and Ross Martin, both of whom impressed.

IW: Murray, Turtle, Browne, Huish, Ormerod, Fitton, Hanson, Rhys Martin, McQueen, Keyes, Harrison, J Bishop, Pudney, Bennett, A Smith, Ross Martin, Newnham, Ward, D Blackman, Chandler, Jeffrey, Stewart, Tombleson.

Match report: 2nds v Sandown & Shanklin (H), Sat. 7 Oct. 2017

IW II 12-41 Sandown & Shanklin II

In a rearranged game from earlier in the season, IW seconds were well beaten by their local rivals. The winners paraded a strong team and their victory was founded on a very strong opening half-hour, which gave them a substantial lead. IW battled hard to get back in the contest but never looked likely to win.

The hosts started strongly building sustained pressure on the Sandown line, but good defence kept them out before a serious ankle injury to a Sandown player required a long stoppage for ambulance attention. The game was then moved to the adjacent pitch for the rest of the first half, and Sandown took control with three quick-fire tries, featuring strong ball-carrying and some less than impressive IW defence. IW did get on the scoresheet courtesy of a determined carry by captain Sam McQueen after 25 minutes, but the victors had the last word of the first half and led 22-5 at the break.

The third quarter was dominated by Sandown and decided the match’s outcome, as they showed attacking prowess and capitalised on some IW errors, showing ability to turn over the home team’s ball frequently. The Rangers had their moments, and stand-out performances from Rouse Ltd man of the match Jason Corney and debutants Callum Pudney and Luke Blackman. They also won the scrum battle, a notable achievement against a bigger pack, while the lineout was secure and led to IW’s second try, the last score of the game. A textbook catch and drive lineout from 10 metres out was illegally halted at the goal line, so the referee awarded a penalty try, due reward for a spirited display despite a clearcut defeat.

IW: Ormerod, Sweatman, James, Gates, Harley, Browne, Cotter, Tombleson, McQueen, Bassett, Harrison, Corney, Pudney, Jones, Curran. Replacements: Brine, Pettifer, Leahy, L Blackman, Willetts.