Isle of Wight RFC’s second team opened 2019 with a victory to continue their dominance of Hampshire Three, though not without a stern test from US Portsmouth RFC. The mainland side travelled to Wootton Rec with a team much improved from their heavy reverse in the return fixture in September, and it was only a
From the off it was evident that
Isle of Wight began to have slightly more of the play as the game developed, with punishing carries from experienced duo Nathan Tombleson and Jim Willetts, and notably Rouse Ltd man of the match George Biles. USP largely stood up to these assaults, but when gaps appeared, Isle of Wight took full advantage, with two tries from centre Salar Bettum in quick succession, converted by Blowers. At 19-3, Isle of Wight seemed in shape to push
The score remained at 24-17 for the next 15 minutes, and though USP were still within a score, in truth IW were now on top in general play, though unable to make it count. The Services’ defence was strong but tiring, and injury would have reduced them to 14 but for IW player Jayme Bishop offering to step in. Meanwhile, IW were able to bring in some fresh legs to renew their attacking efforts.
As the last ten minutes ticked away, a crucial score was logged by the powerful Biles. This seemed to demoralise the visitors, who were immediately back under their posts as the kickoff was fed to replacement Alex Cole, who marked his debut with a stunning solo run from his own 22 to score a memorable try. There was still time for Biffa man of the day Bettum to complete his hat-trick with the game’s last action, though there was a hint of a knock-forward in the build-up. In truth, the scoreline was harsh on USP, who contributed handsomely to a fine game, though IW fully deserved their win after an impressive showing.
Isle of Wight’s next action is away to Kingsclere on 26 January.
IW: Browne, Williams, Spence, Bettum, Blowers, Elsom, Hallam, Davey, Tombleson, Willetts, Raunigger, Biles, Guy, Spencer-Brading, N Joyce. Replacements: Cole, D Bishop, J Bishop, Jones, Martin, Peckham, Miles, Edmonds.