Report: 1sts v Fareham Heathens (H), Sat. 19 Mar. 2016

IWRFC 27 Fareham Heathens 43

With Heathens at the top of the league, many did not expect the Island to overly trouble the visitors. However the home performance forced their visitors to work hard, with the home side often playing the better rugby. IW deserved the gained bonus point but to come out 5 tries to 6 against Heathens showed the willingness to attack.

However it was the visitors who struck after only two minutes, with IW losing a ball in the ruck, scoring out wide for a converted try. Isle of Wight responded attacking the Heathens line through Mikey Wood, for Andy Brown to crash over. Back came the visitors, taking advantage of a missed tackle, stretching their lead further latching on to loose ball and kicking a penalty to take a 5-17 lead. A further try seemed to put Heathens in a commanding lead.

A cross kick by Chris Williams changed that as Ian Puzey gathered, fed Mikey Wood who was supported by Alex Smith who smashed over. Then, opting for a scrum in the opposition 22 from a penalty, the ball whizzed down the backs line for Ramsay Lind to score. Switching off just before half time allowed Fareham to score their 4th try to hold a half time lead  15-31.

The second half was a credit to both sides who put on a display of running rugby. The Island kept the pressure up on the visitors for a sustained time, through scrum and close support, with Matt Vann touching down for Chris Williams to add the kick. Back came Fareham with a try of their own.

The Island could not gain further from their next session of pressure and the visitors scored again. Not to be outdone, scrum ball was moved wide, from which quick hands and a neat pass inside from debutant Ben Cox allowed Sam Spencer-Brading to score, leaving the second half 12 all.

While Heathens go on to look for promotion, the Island side gained another point to continue their rise from the relegation zone.

IW: D Stirrup, S Spencer-Brading, R Lind, M Vann, M Wood, C Williams, B Evans, A Hay, D Tennant, A Brown, A Smith, O Boulter, I Puzey, M Newnham, M Tanner. Rich Vaughan, R Stewart, B Cox