Isle of Wight RFC 1XV 19-18 Locks Heath Pumas RFC
A nail biter to the end, neither side managed to stamp authority on this Hampshire One game and two well matched sides battled it out to the end.
The Island, playing in to the brisk northerly chill, found themselves penalised early on and gave their visitors the opportunity to take a 6-0 lead with two penalties. The Island’s pack then stepped up and with driving runs from Sam McQueen, Andy Brown and the returning Callum Pudney, made inroads into the Pumas half. James Curran was a constant aggressive thorn in the side of the visitors, but errors when in striking distance kept the Pumas’ line intact up to half-time.
It was the visitors who struck first in the second half with a try to give them an 11-0 lead. But the IW Rangers took control for much of the rest of the game, continuing to drive at the Pumas defensive heart. Constant pressure at the scrum, with Rouse Ltd man of the match Martin Newnham the focus, allowed them go forward ball.
They were finally rewarded as Luke Blackman crossed, after sustained pressure on the visitors line. Lewis Murray added the kick. Andy Brown then crashed over for a one point lead. With the bench of Ian Bennett, Kevin Blackburn and Connor Grant adding fresh impetus, the Islanders went for the throat as the Pumas seemed to be running out of steam. Tom Marriott threw a dummy, sending the defence one way, as he sprinted over, Murray again adding the conversion.
Now looking for the bonus fourth try, the Islanders were all attack. However the Pumas centre chanced his arm, intercepting Biffa man of the day Murray’s pass in what would possibly have been a home try, to sprint under the posts and bring the visitors back to within a point. Visions of last week’s dramatic loss seemed to loom like a Halloween ghost, yet the home side moved the ball upfield for the final whistle to go.
Next Saturday the 1st XV travel to play Trojans 2nds while the 2nds play Millbrook/Stoneham 2nds.
IWRFC: J Sweetman, J Reed, A Rann, L Blackburn, G Huish, L Murray, T Marriott, D Blackman, J Webster, J Curran, A Brown, C Pudney, M Newnham, S McQueen, G Smith. Replacements: K Blackburn, I Bennett, C Grant.