Nolan shares these end of season match reports on behalf of Ventnor RFC. Ed
Ventnor 1st XV 24 – 14 Overton 1st XV
In their last home game of the season, Ventnor looked to improve on their increasingly better performances in recent games and having lost the previous game by one point, victory was the next step.
The beginning of the game saw both teams having positive passages of play, with Ventnor looking to play with their large attacking backs and Overton using their tried and tested maul. Ventnor fronted up in the forwards by winning scrums against the head and repelling maul attacks. After working their way up the pitch, Ventnor scored through stand-in Captain, Andrew Gough. This was followed by another break-away try by Paul Berry, who had busted through the line taking a 14-0 lead into half time.
Ventnor’s kick-off lead to a counter attack from Overton, which caught some complacency unaware and a try was scored. This was followed by another piece of attacking play from Overton, this time through their attacking maul proving to be unstoppable. 14-14. Game on.
Ventnor rallied after this and soon found their way back into the game with some great phases of play. After several thwarted attempts at the line, Ed Blake finally went round the opposition and scored to get Ventnor’s nose back in front.
Ventnor then camped in the opposition half and after relentless attacks James Morley was popped the ball and broke away under the posts. The charged down conversion signalled the end of the game and Ventnor’s first win of the season.
Thank you to match sponsors Perks of Ventnor, The Bistro, John Liddelow Financial Services, Solent.Co, Wendy’s, Ventnor Social Club and The Kitchen @ London House.
AJ Wells & Sons Man of the Match – Lewis Jones
Ventnor Haven Fishery Cod Eye of the Day – Damien Marriott
Squad – Dawson, Jones, Pratt, Green, Savill, Franklin, Edwards, Pickard, Berry, Gough, Blake, Pemberton, Dobbas, Marriott, Lines, Bell, Morley, Harris.
Ventnor 2nd XV 31-10 Alton 2nd XV
It may have been a cloudy day down at Rew Valley, but nothing was going to overcast the focus or determination that Ventnor had set the target to get that big win this day, with one of the strongest second team sides Ventnor had ever fielded.
Ventnor started the game strong making some good ground, and sealing off the rucks to protect the ball to move forward, showing some early signs of dominance. However Alton held their own, defensively denying an early try opportunity and holding their line well. Eventually Ventnor were able to break through and get their first try of the day scored by guest player, number nine, Sam Cooke.
With a successful conversion from Warren Riches, this put the home side up 7-0. Although the home side were playing some dominant rugby, a few clumsy penalties gave the visitors good field position, as they were able to capitalise on an overlap scoring their first try of the game. However they were unable to convert the kick from a difficult position, making the score 7-5 to the home team.
Some strong phases then lead to Ventnor being able to capitalise for the second time with Justinas Urbonas scoring, putting the home side up 12-5. Before the halftime whistle came an unexpected, but well worked try from Tom Englegardt, who was able to exploit the gaps, run in a third try for Ventnor. A well-worked try for a player who had not stepped on a rugby pitch in over a year! With another successful conversion from Warren Riches, Ventnor went in to the half 19-5 up.
Second half fatigue
The second half came and fatigue started to set in from both sides, with some mistakes leading to dropped balls or sloppy penalties. Tempers started to flare at times too, but both sides did well to calm those involved down and focus back on playing the game.
Ventnor however were still dominating the scrums, and continuing to make their tackles putting pressure on the visitors. Despite this the visitors hit back, and nearly scored their second of the game to close the gap in the right hand corner of the field. But the ball was knocked loose by Corey Tuner on Ventnor’s try line stopping the scoring opportunity as possession as handed back to Ventnor.
In the later part of the half, Ventnor were then able to score their fourth try, a second for Sam Cooke, making the score 24-5. With not much time left on the clock, Alton were still putting in the efforts to score and not willing to roll over as some might this late in the game. Their hard work payed off, as they were then able to score their second try of the game. The conversion kick went wide, making the score 24-10.
Despite having the lead with the clock running down to full-time the home side were able to recover a loose ball and get it out to the backs, who were then able to capitalise and score Ventnor’s fifth try of the game, scored once again by Sam Cooke completing his hat-trick. A successful conversion lead to the final whistle being blown.
This topped off what had been a long year for Ventnor with few second team games being played, but gives the club a much needed moral boost going in to next season.
Despite the score this was a well-contested game with both teams giving it their all. Ventnor would like to thank our visitors Alton RFC for making trip over to us and as always; rugby is the real winner.
True spirit of rugby
Special thanks also out go to Ventnor players Dan Noyes, Cory Turner and Ben Atkins for putting in stints for the visiting team, so they could continue to play with 15 men when they had injuries and no replacements to bring on.
Each showed what the true spirit of second team rugby is all about.
Until next season; ‘the future’s bright, the future’s blue and white!’
AJ Wells & Sons Man of the Match – Sam Cooke (pictured at top of report)
Ventnor Haven Fishery Cod Eye of the Day – Tommy Engelgardt
Squad – J. Stemmet, M. Tucker, S. Gough, T. Davis, S. Blow, T. Engles, A. Teague, H. Marsh, S. Cooke, T. Riches, C. Turner, E. Clarke, J. Urbonas, B. Atkins, W. Riches, M. Crisp, J. Rogers, D. Noyes, C. Hill, B Gough.
Images: © Drew Cooper/5063.uk