Report: 2nds v Stoneham (H), Sat. 29 Oct. 2016

IW II 17-45 Stoneham

IW’s second team suffered their first home defeat of the season to a strong visiting side at Wootton Rec. The final score was not at all reflective of a game in which one score separated the sides for the majority, but Stoneham’s greater firepower and determination garnered them a deserved win and moved them to the top of the league.

A try inside the opening two minutes was a tonic for IW, as they regained their own kickoff and built pressure on the Stoneham defence, before Jayme Bishop touched down for the score. Yet Stoneham were unfazed, and soon showed why they have only been defeated once this season. They upped their forward work-rate and provided opportunities for a variety of strike runners in their back division, which yielded an equalising try, followed by three more in the opening half and a 24-5 lead. IW were looking good when in possession, but defensively contributed to some of Stoneham’s success with inconsistent line speed and some poor tackling in this period. The loss of Ian Puzey to injury was a further blow to home prospects.

In the last ten minutes of the half, IW tightened up and forced their way into Stoneham territory. Some excellent phase play led to a try by Chris Williams, converted by Dan Greaves. Buoyed by this play, IW mounted a further attack and generated plenty of quick ball. This resulted in play being moved wide for speedster Greaves to score in the corner. This was the last action of the half, and IW now only trailed 24-17.

Now came the game’s most competitive and tightly contested phase, as the third quarter was scoreless, both teams vying for superiority as the breakdown became more competitive and rather messy. Rouse Ltd man of the match Alex Hay was his usual effective self in the unfamiliar surrounds of centre, while the pack was competing manfully in the set-pieces, led by the front row of Willetts, Love and Brine. Just when it seemed IW might be able to level the scores, Stoneham broke free of the shackles and constructed a fine converted try, moving them clear with 15 minutes to play.

This score would prove decisive, as Stoneham dominated most of the remaining time, and scored twice more against a tiring IW team, leading to a conclusive winning margin which reflected Stoneham’s attacking prowess but was harsh on a spirited IW effort.

IW: T Turtle, Greaves, McQueen, Puzey, Wilson, Williams, Cotter, Brine, Love, Willetts, Harrison, J Bishop, Kearney, Hay, Greedy. Reps: J Wright, Pettifer, Leahy.