Ellingham & Ringwood 29-15 IW by Grant Smith
IW performed well at the home of title chasers Ellingham & Ringwood but came unstuck in the closing stages of an eventful match.
Ellingham & Ringwood put the pressure on early with some strong running at the IWRFC try line and within the opening minutes had taken a 7-0 lead. After the re-start the tone was set by a crunching tackle from Angus Brown that sadly saw him forced out of the rest of the game with a head injury. Soon after ER followed up with another try, making it 14-0.
After several penalties against ER, the referee issued the first yellow card of the game and sent an ER player to the bin, giving IW a penalty and an opportunity for Biffa man of the match Lewis Murray to slot the ball between the posts and start IWRFC’s scoring.
The pressure was immediately back on for the ER defence, as IWRFC looked to take advantage of the extra man, and through a series of phases Owain Hooper got the ball down for IWRFC’s first try of the game. Murray converted to make it 14-10. However, a final try before half time saw ER take a 19-10 lead.
After half time, the hosts were quickly down to 14 men again as another player was sent to the bin, and the dominant Isle of Wight scrum ensured that a second try brought them back within range, with George Huish taking the score to 19-15.
After excellent pressure from IWRFC, despite being down to 14 men themselves after Murray was controversially sinbinned, all was looking promising for a comeback. However, an unfortunate interception allowed the home team to extend their lead to 26-15. In the final minutes discipline slipped even further for ER and the referee showed a red card, leaving them a man down for the closing minutes. Despite this the home side managed to confirm the win with a penalty goal.
IW were disappointed to see the game slip away after an improved performance and will look to maintain momentum into their next game at home to Ventnor.
IWRFC: M Smith, A Rann, T Marriott, Angus Brown, O Hooper, L Murray, A Augustus, Andrew Brown, D Blackman, L Blackman, K Blackburn, A Raunigger, M Newnham, S McQueen, I Puzey. Replacements: D Bishop, G Huish, J Webster.