IW 15 Millbrook 61
Comprehensive defeat was again the lot of IW in their latest Hampshire One clash, at the hands of visitors Millbrook. The final scoreline was extremely harsh on the severely depleted home side, who performed encouragingly for spells of the game but were mercilessly punished by the winners when turning possession over. In the end, there was no denying the superiority of Millbrook, who on this evidence will again be contenders for title honours by season’s end.
IW started with a much changed side, due to a long injury list and the unavailability of captain Dan Stirrup. Yet the opening minutes went well and they forced an early penalty opportunity, availed of by Harry Dye. Millbrook replied quickly with a seven-pointer to take the lead inside ten minutes.
Millbrook held wind advantage in the opening half, and with the help of their accomplished kicker, bossed territory for much of this period. They found IW defence solid during this time, but did earn penalties, three of which were kickable and converted by their fly-half. The hosts were not helped by further injuries – Ollie Boulter and Harry Dye were forced off. IW would have been satisfied with a 16-3 deficit at halftime, but Millbrook’s pressure told and they registered their second try, unconverted, in the 40th minute.
The opening 15 minutes of the second half was probably IW’s best, as they enjoyed respite from their own half and applied some pressure of their own. After ever-dangerous Brett Evans was close to scoring, a lineout move saw Ryan Stewart catch Millbrook unawares and beat the cover defence for a fine score.
IW now felt they could get back into the game, but Millbrook had other ideas and moved through the gears. Their combination of a powerful pack and pacy backs overpowered the Islanders at times, and they steadily built the score with some impressive tries. As the game moved beyond the hosts, they gamely attacked from their own half, but often were guilty of cheap turnovers which were run back by the winners for scores. Nevertheless, IW finished the game in the Millbrook 22 and a try by scrum-half Evans, converted by Lewis Murray, afforded some reward for their efforts.
Rouse Ltd man of the match was early replacement Andreas Raunigger. IW have had a difficult campaign so far, but will look forward to an easing of their fixture list and injury list in the not too distant future.
IW: Murray, Rann, Huish, Wood, James, Dye, Evans, Newnham, Tucker, M Tanner, Boulter, Smith, Stewart, Brading, Freeman, Raunigger, Brine, Lynch.