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Report: 1sts v Locks Heath Pumas (H), Sat 23 Nov 2019

IW 17-17 Locksheath Pumas

Following a difficult away day at Fawley, Isle of Wight were looking to jump up the table, and secure maximum points from the mid table clash against Locksheath Pumas.

Playing into the wind, the IW defence was tested straight away with quick ball from the ruck, and consequently a few phases later, Pumas would open the scoring in the corner. IW Rangers, knowing where the mistakes were made, controlled possession through their forwards with heavy participation from Rouse Man of the Match Kevin Blackburn. Eventually Callum Pudney crashed over and Lewis Murray conversion gave IW the lead.

The remainder of thehalf was all under the possession of the home team, with Locksheath having to prove themselves in defence. Despite some good IW play, a runaway try from the visitors put them back in the lead with the converted try. The score read 12-7 to Pumas at the break.

At half time, Biffa Man of the Match Samuel McQueen was brought on, his last time wearing an IWRFC shirt for the time being. The second half continued in a similar vein to the first, with IW keeping the ball and applying pressure to a well disciplined defensive line. However, another simple error gave Locksheath the opportunity to further extend their lead, taking the score to 7-17.

With the clock ticking away it was looking like a third successive defeat for the home team, but a break from Luke Margham, paired with a world class offload to Tom Marriott gave the hosts a converted try and a glimmer of hope with 15 minutes to go

An extra 3 points secured by Murray, with an impressive kick from just inside the half way line, evened the score, and left it all to play for with a few minutes to go. IW gained a line out in the opponents 22 and opted for the catch and drive, but an unlucky knock on gave the away team the scrum, with the clock in red. The ball was kicked dead and the spoils were shared.

While draws often disappoint both parties, IW had generally played well and shown fortitude to come from behind, while Pumas had defended well and ground out an away draw. IW will intend to carry this momentum into their next game at Overton on 7th December.

IW: Warvill, C Browne, Margham, Marriott, Hooper, Murray, Augustus, Blackburn, Tennant, Newnham, G Smith, Pudney, Bennett, L Blackman, A Smith. Replacements: McQueen, Andy Brown, Huish.

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