Hook and Odiham 22-22 IW
Taking a break from league action, an Isle of Wight RFC squad was invited to play the newly formed Hampshire club Hook and Odiham. The IW assembled a sixteen man squad mixed of first, second and vets players to travel to Tadley in Berkshire for this friendly fixture.
The Island dominated early possession and territory for much of the opening quarter; however it was evident at this stage that the opposition were going to be difficult to break down. The Island continued this domination into the second quarter only to be thwarted by the Hook defence on many occasions by their two powerful centres. The Island veteran paring of Cotter and Brading marshalled the Island attack well with continued pressure on the Hook defence until Hook finally conceded a penalty in front of their posts. Andy Rann kicked the Island’s first points of the game. It was now the turn of the opposition to attack – however the Island defence was holding firm until a missed tackle allowed one of the Hook centres to break away for a converted try before half time giving them a 7-3 lead.
The second half began much like the first with the Island playing attacking rugby using their big ball carriers of Boulter, Brown and Newnham who were a constant threat to the opposition. The Island camped on the Hook five metre line for a period of time and the domination of the Island scrum was rewarded when a pushover try was finished off by Ollie Boulter.
Once again Hook were quick to respond and further pressure in midfield lead to another breakaway try which left the Island trailing 12-8. Constant work at the breakdown by Ryan Stewart and Mark Westley would reward the Island with a number of penalties. This allowed the Island to obtain some good field position. A quick tap penalty by Cotter to the powerful Andy Brown rewarded the Island with their next try under the posts which was converted by Rann giving the Island a three point lead 12-15.
The last ten minutes of the game proved to be an exciting encounter as both teams were working hard for the win; it was Hook who were next to score following a penalty in front of the Island posts bringing the scores level at 15 apiece. Further pressure by Hook would lead to them scoring another try which they also converted to take a seven point lead 22-15.
With only minutes remaining the Islands front row of Newnham, Tucker and Keyes were rewarded for their hard work by turning over an opposition scrum within their own half and allowing the Island to regain possession and push into the Hook half. Now in injury time a sustained period of pressure by the Island on the Hook five metre line would lead to a number of penalties and a yellow card for one of the Hook players. The Hook defense was resilient and it looked like they might defend their lead until Neil Brading picked out Andy Rann who carried over to score a try in the third minute of injury time. It was Rann who proved to be the Island’s saviour by converting his own try with the final kick of the game bringing the scores level at 22-22.
Newnham, Tucker, Keyes, Westley, D Bishop, Brown (Capt), Stewart, Boulter, Cotter, Brading, J Bishop, Wood, McQueen, Rann, Turtle, Wynyard-Wright.