Match report: 2nds v Fawley (A), Sat. 9 Dec. 2017

Fawley II 19-38 IW II

Isle of Wight RFC’s second team was victorious at Fawley, their first mainland win of the season, moving them up to seventh place in Solent Three after propping up the table early in the campaign.

Both teams were bolstered by a couple of players from neighbouring Romsey and Stoneham, and a depleted Island were able to field a full 15 with replacements. They imposed their open running game from the off, as the forwards delivered quality possession and the backs made hay. Centre James Deas, returning from a long absence, weaved through the cover to score the opener, and soon added another after incisive play from midfield partner Harry Dye. IW looked dangerous every time they moved the ball, and after Dye attracted several defenders, he parted to Deas who completed a remarkable hat-trick inside the first 20 minutes.

21 points down, Fawley realised that they had a mountain to climb, but began to retain possession and establish a foothold. At the same time, IW appeared to slacken off and became a little passive in defence. The hosts constructed a good try from a blindside grubber kick, and then intercepted a stray IW pass to run in a converted score to trail 21-12.

Though under some pressure in the set scrums, the IW pack competed well and had plenty of joy at the breakdown, where Rouse Ltd man of the match Tom Turtle was especially effective. Captain Dean Jennings also battled manfully in his first game for over two years. The forwards finished the first half in the ascendancy, building phases before back row Dillan Egan cantered over. Dye converted all four first half tries, giving IW a 28-12 lead at half-time.

IW were in good shape, but Fawley showed fight and had the better of the third quarter. Though IW defence was strong, an outrageous piece of skill from a home player unlocked the door and gave Fawley their third try, narrowing the gap to nine once again.

The Islanders needed to raise their game again, and to their credit dominated the remainder of the match. A five metre scrum was solid and gave the platform for busy scrum-half Dave Hanson to dart over, before replacement wing Steve Sellick crossed in the right corner to seal the victory. IW saw out the remaining minutes and celebrated a deserved victory.

IW: Williams, Sweatman, Deas, Dye, Ormerod, Fitton, Hanson, Hill, Turtle, Jennings ©, D Bishop, J Bishop, Jones, Egan, Creal. Replacements: Giddens, Sanchez, Sellick, Leahy.