A perfect way to wrap up the last home league game of the season saw the Island run in 12 unanswered tries, with nine different scorers, against an outplayed but game Southampton side.
The home crowd was entertained straight from the start as the ball was turned over from the kick off for Luke Chandler to score. Southampton came straight back at the home side and spent a five-minute spell in the home 22. Strong and ordered defence kept them at bay and defence was turned into attack, as turn over ball was moved swiftly down the line, recycled and into the hands of Angus Brown to score. Lewis Murray added the first of his ten conversions.
The Island were now playing the style of rugby that has been promised for a lot of the season, with ball carried up, quickly recycled and moved wide with pace and power. Next to cross was wing forward James Webster, following good support play. Then, an Andrew Brown carry and drive saw him score on the half hour, to register the side’s bonus point. There was time for Tom Marriott, playing on the wing, to bring the score to 33 – 0 at half time.
Isle of Wight now brought on their bench, replacing Andi Raunigger, Dan Bishop and Chris Ormerod with Kevin Blackburn, Callum Pudney and Andy Rann. With Alex Augustus and Murray pulling the strings, the home side continued to dominate, despite a yellow card for Chandler for an offside incident. Driving a 5-metre scrum allowed Number 8 Luke Blackman to score. A break out by Webster led to Angus Brown’s second, while a Connor Grant run was flipped inside for Chandler’s second. A further break from Grant was then recycled three times and moved wide for Andy Rann to stroll over.
The domination continued as a lineout 5 metres out was driven over by Andy Brown. Grant was then rewarded with a try of his own, while the game was completed as Murray converted his own try.
This all-round performance takes the Island side towards the close season with confidence for next year, having rebuilt their side over the course of the season. They round off the league campaign at Andover on Saturday.
Isle of Wight RFC 1XV: C Grant, T Marriott, Angus Brown, L Chandler, C Ormerod, L Murray, A Augustus, L Blackman, J Webster, Andrew Brown, A Raunigger, D Bishop, M Newnham, S McQueen, G Smith. K Blackburn, C Pudney, A Rann.
Match report: David Metcalfe