In this repeat of last years plate 3/4 match Romsey battled through Storm Freya to Ventnor, but didn’t account for Storm Fu blowing them away. Vectis were wary of their opponents having conceded tries last year at what felt like one every 5 minutes. This time Vectis played a game of controlled power and started the match with a long period of possession in the Romsey half.
Not to be outdone in the physical stakes Romsey defended very well and the dangerous Vectis backs couldn’t find any room in which to operate. The closest Vectis came to scoring was a series of 5m lineouts, where despite the wind accurate throwing in by George Nicholls gave his fellow forwards opportunities to score. Charges from Sam Thomas and man of the match Ryan Fu, ably supported by the rest of the pack were very well defended by the Romsey pack. Eventually Vectis gave away a penalty and Romsey were able to clear their lines. Romsey worked their way upfield but a telegraphed pass was intercepted by Rory Taylor who ran 30m to score. In the wind he couldn’t convert his own try. There was no further score in the first half and as the teams turned around the result was still in the balance.
The forwards and scrum-half Emile Bleriot, who played as a 9th forward, kept Vectis moving forward, and some good kicking kept turning Romsey towards their own line. Eventually, Romsey gave away a penalty which Rory Taylor chipped over to put his team 2 scores ahead. Vectis kept attacking and after a multi-phase move Rory Taylor skipped over in the corner. Astonishingly in the wind he converted his own try from wide out to put Vectis 15-0 up.
Romsey were stung into action with 10 minutes left and, despite two breaks for injury to their players, they put more pressure on Vectis than they had in the whole match by getting the ball wide. Strong tackling on the wings by Nathan Sanchez and Finn Mahoney and physical commitment by every player kept Romsey at bay. After a series of lineouts 5 m out from the Vectis try line one of the big Romsey forwards crashed over only to be stopped from scoring by Emile Bleriot and Will Hatch who summed up their team’s defensive effort by getting underneath him, and preventing the ball from being grounded. That was Romsey’s last serious attack and Vectis won 15-0 to finish 7th in the cup competition.
This was a very strong collective effort and every player can be proud of their contribution in difficult conditions and playing a big well organised team. It was pleasing to see that lessons from the season had been learnt and Vectis were able to play a territorial game and rely on their defence to put pressure on the opposition. Its not an exaggeration to say that this was their best performance of the season and shows how far this team has developed since September which is testament to the hard work of the whole squad and that of their coaches.
Team; Bleriot; Branagh; Butchers; Caddick; Fox; Fu; Fry; Graham; Nicholls; Hatch; Lawal-Reiley; Howard; Mahoney ;Methold; Taylor; Sanchez; Rees; Ridley; Keywood; Newton; Thomas; Johnson; Reynolds.
Match report: Andrew Hatch