Report: 2nds v Alresford (A), Sat. 19 Nov. 2016

Alresford II 12-46 IW II

Isle of Wight RFC’s second team continued their recent good form at Alresford, winning their third game in a row in emphatic fashion. The match followed the pattern of the last two Saturdays, as the scoreline remained close until IW pulled away in the second half. Coincidentally, the free-scoring IW have registered exactly eight tries in each of the three victories.

Alresford, though enjoying a good campaign in which they were top of the Solent 3 table until last week, were depleted for this fixture. The two clubs enjoy an excellent relationship forged over the years, and IW were happy to loan them players to even up the sides. Jim Willetts, Ciaran Lowe and Tom Love all served stints for the home side, each performing with distinction.

There appeared little between the sides for most of the opening half. Alresford edged the opening quarter and were first to score, with a converted try. IW always looked threatening with quality possession though, and soon levelled the scores with a David Blackman try, converted by captain for the day Lewis Murray. The Islanders were guilty of butchering some good opportunities to take the lead when overlaps were not exploited, and over-indulged in offloads at times, but did ensure a half-time lead as Love beat two defenders and crashed over. Murray added the extras for a 14-7 lead at the break.

Though there was little between the sides on the scoreboard, IW knew that if they could keep the pace of the game high, Alresford would struggle to cope. This strategy worked and IW played some consummate running rugby in the second half, pulling clear with tries by Tom Turtle, Ricky Keyes and Sam McQueen. Keyes added a conversion, and at 31-7, IW were more or less assured of victory.

Rouse Ltd man of the match Turtle completed a hat-trick before the final whistle, his stand-out score involving a lengthy foot-rush from near the IW goal-line, and instigated by Blackman. Debutants Tommy Whiles and Adam Harbour performed exceptionally well throughout, and were increasingly in evidence as IW took over. Willetts added another from a powerful line-out maul, and the half-century was within reach. To Alresford’s credit, they finished strongly and applied sustained pressure to the IW line. IW’s defence had been strong throughout, and they held up Alresford over the line on two separate occasions to confirm their determination, but the hosts did get through for a deserved score before the end. IW look forward to another outing next week, at Eastleigh.

IW: Stewart, Harbour, McQueen, Blackman, Murray, Marriott, Turtle, Love, Keyes, Whiles,  J Bishop, Kearney, Lowe, Willetts, Leahy.