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Report: 1sts v Ventnor (H), Sat. 9 Feb. 2019

IWRFC 26 Ventnor 3  by Charles Metcalfe

Ventnor's game plan to beat Isle of Wight was undone by a focussed and determined home side. Within three minutes the Island took the lead they were never to relinquish. Taking a Ventnor line in their 22, the Island drove the ball into the visitors' heart, moved the ball back to the right and full back Martin Smith ghosted in. Lewis Murray, on form with the boot all day, added the conversion.

Ventnor responded with a Todd Riches penalty.

The Island continued to pin down Ventnor, using the strong wind and won a string of penalties, converting four by half time, leaving the home side 19 to 3 up.

Despite Ventnor now having the wind at their backs and having more ball than the home side, their attack was constantly thwarted by powerful defence and the Island's ability to isolate Ventnor players, allowing clearance through penalties to touch. The bench of Blackburn, Webster and Biffa man of the match Ned Guy also added impetus.

Callum Pudney claims Martin Newnham's line-out throw. Photograph courtesy of IW County Press.

With some 20 minutes remaining, the Island took the heart out of the visitors. With a penalty kicked to within 10 metres, the Island camped on the Ventnor line, and unleashed wave after wave of driving play, which finally came to Rouse Man of the Match Angus Brown to crash over, Murray adding the conversion.

This was a focussed and disciplined home performance, more than making up for the loss at Ventnor earlier in the season.

Next Saturday the Island's 1st XV are away to Locks Heath Pumas, one place above them in Hampshire 1.

IWRFC: M Smith, O Hooper, T Marriott, Angus Brown, A Rann, L Murray, A Augustus, Andrew Brown, D Blackman, L Blackman, C Pudney, A Raunigger, M Newnham, S McQueen, G Smith. K Blackburn, J Webster, N Guy.

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