Match report: 2nds v Romsey (H), Sat. 23 Sept. 2017

IW II 43-26 Romsey II

After an agonising late defeat in their season opener at Farnborough, the Isle of Wight seconds opened their account for the season with victory over Romsey. The visitors deserve eternal credit for travelling over though severely depleted; guest players from Sandown/Shanklin and Ryde, along with IW themselves, ensured even team numbers and a competitive game in glorious conditions.

On a warm day and a fast pitch, attacking rugby was always likely to pay dividends and both teams ran the ball at every opportunity. Tries came regularly, the sides sharing six equally between them in the opening half. Fielding a youthful team full of pace and several new players, IW created and then exploited space, while Romsey’s approach was more direct but also paid dividends at times. IW fly-half James Fitton started the scoring by regathering his own kick forward, before the returning Ali Gates added another. IW loan player James Curran touched down twice for Romsey, while Chris Ormerod was next to cross for the hosts. Half-time arrived with the score at 19-19.

The spoils were up for grabs and would remain so during the third quarter, before Romsey tired and IW pulled away. Among those to impress were newcomers Sam Johnson and Dylan Egan, before both succumbed to injuries. Another IW loan player, Jayme Bishop, scored Romsey’s final try, but Gates added his second after a jinking run and debutant Jonty Sweatman scored after a fine team move. Scrum-half Tom Turtle also got on the scoresheet, and Rouse Ltd man of the match Fitton scored his second to cap a fine display. He also landed four conversions, helping to ensure a clearcut margin of victory in a sporting and keenly contested tussle.

IW: Johnson, Wraxton, Sweatman, Ormerod, Gates, Fitton, Turtle, Brine, McQueen, Bassett, Egan, J Bishop, Jones, Bennett, Curran, Leahy.