Johnson’s maiden try not enough to beat New Milton
Many of the travelling support must have thought this was groundhog day as Vectis were well in the game at half time and fell away to lose a close, hard-fought game against Hampshire cup runners up New Milton and District RFC, with a later try giving the score a more even look.
With several absences there was a reshuffle in the backs with Olly Fry making his debut at full back, much to his surprise, William Hatch moving to 9 and Harry Johnson starting on the left wing.
Despite the changes, Vectis started well, but fell behind to a well worked try from the home team. Jesse Butchers, however, set the game alight with a burst on the left wing and managed to break through several tackles to score in the corner to bring the scores level. New Milton responded quickly however scoring from turnover ball. Vectis drew level with a maiden try for Harry Johnston, which brought the loudest cheer of the day. The pack secured a ruck on the left and William Hatch seeing an overlap on the left passed to Rory Taylor who made space for Harry Johnston to go over in the corner to bring the scores level. With their tails up Vectis took the game to New Milton and Just before half time Rory Taylor put the visitors ahead converting his own try, scored following a strong run and outstanding offload from Jesse Butchers.
Even though Vectis were ahead there were signs of trouble to come with the pack regularly being pushed off the ball, and with New Milton being constantly offside and putting their hands into the ruck with great frequency, a lot of ball was lost. The Vectis pack, despite strong performances from all of the players, with George Nicholls and Johnny Graham leading the way, were unable to show enough unity and technique to deal with the cohesion of the New Milton forwards, who played very well as a unit.
In the second period half backs William Hatch and Felix Methold came under a lot of pressure from their opponents back row and were unable to get the dangerous outside backs moving, with every ball to them arriving with several New Milton players very close by.
Turnovers became the order of the day and New Milton were too good to waste the opportunities that came their way scoring three unanswered tries before a late consolation from Rory Taylor made the score look closer. Despite the defeat all of the players can be proud of their performances and in particular their defence, with no lack of effort from any of the squad.
Team: Fry; Johnson; Mahoney; Butchers; Taylor; Methold; Hatch; Reynolds; Nicholls; Lawal-Reiley; Caddick; Fox; Newton; Graham; Lewis; Smith; Rees; Howard.
Match report: Andrew Hatch