Match report: 2nds v Locks Heath Pumas (H), Sat. 2 Dec. 2017

IW II 29-17 Locks Heath Pumas II

A keenly fought encounter at Wootton Rec saw the home club victorious as they continued their climb up the Solent Three table. In the proverbial game of two halves, IW’s excellent opening 40 minutes proved decisive in the final outcome, along with an exceptional performance from George Huish, returning after a few weeks of absence.

IW paraded a relatively youthful side full of pace and attacking verve, and scored in the opening minutes after a series of phases, before Huish found enough space to round the cover defence and score in the corner. The game subsequently settled down and provided an enjoyable contest; neither side had long periods of territorial dominance, but IW carried more of a threat off quality possession. Their second try came from a breakdown of a Pumas move, as Huish kicked through and was first to the bobbling ball to touch down.

Led by the experience of Gary Warvill and captain for the day Dave Hanson, IW continued to probe for openings. They were helped by a dominant scrum performance, while Luke Blackman played well on his first senior start. Another flowing move was finished by the jinking Warvill, before Huish ran a hard line to crash over for the Island’s fourth try. James Fitton converted, and IW led 22-0 at the break.

The match seemed all but over as a contest, but that was to underestimate the travelling Pumas who noticeably raised the intensity of their effort and scored their opening try within 10 minutes of the re-start. Though the even contest continued, IW were now leaving some gaps in their defence and the visitors began to make inroads. Entering the last 15 minutes, IW received a quick wake-up call as they conceded two more tries, the first converted, within a few minutes of each other.

To their credit, IW rose to the challenge when the need was greatest, and would dominate the final 10 minutes. Tom Turtle was deemed to be stopped short of the line, but from the ensuing five metre scrum, the irrepressible Huish took the ball at pace and slammed it down for the clinching score, his fourth of the day, improved by Fitton. While they did not deliver a complete performance by any means, IW were well worth their victory against capable opposition, and will look to conclude 2017 on a high note over the next two weekends.

IW: Warvill, Ormerod, Huish, Gates, Sweatman, Fitton, Hanson, Newnham, McQueen, Tombleson, Harrison, Jones, L Blackman, Bennett, Joyce. Replacements: D Bishop, J Bishop, Turtle.