Travelling to play new unknown opposition on a day more suited to cricket was always going to be a challenge for the Isle of Wight RFC, especially when forced into eight changes from the previous week’s comprehensive win at Ventnor. The day was to prove a test of determination and never say die attitude.
With parity upfront, it was the pace Chichester RFC produced out wide in their counter-attacking that was the major difference between the two sides. With Sam McQueen turning an ankle in the warm-up, and only able to take part from half time, a quick reshuffle of the line-up was required.
The first twenty minutes saw the home side run in four tries, with the Island hardly able to get their hands on the ball. Missed tackles did not help the visitors’ cause. An exception to this was Dan Ward, at full-back, with three try saving interventions.
The Island managed to force Chichester into their own 22 and applied pressure with a James Fitton break and forward surges from Rouse Man of the Match Andrew Brown. However, with ball turned over, the home side were able to counter from deep.
Turning around 49-0 down, the second half start did not bode well with two further home tries. But one thing the Island have is pride, and the determination shown led to a driven maul from a lineout for Biffa player of the day Luke Blackman to drive over. Lewis Murray added the conversion.
A similar determined sustained attack going through ten phases led to Blackman’s second try, again Murray adding the kick as the final whistle blew. This was a game for players to stand up and be counted and Sam Jones, Martin Newnham, and Kevin Blackburn were all to the fore throughout the game.
Next week the Isle of Wight 1st XV play away to a second new side in the league in Southampton University Hospitals RFC, while the 2nd XV start their Hampshire 2 campaign against Chineham RFC at Wootton Rec with a 3pm kick off.
Squad: D Ward, C Ormerod, J Fitton, D Blackman, J Langdon, L Murray, T Marriott, L Blackman, I Bennett, A Brown, S Jones, J Bishop, K Davey, M Newnham, K Blackburn. S McQueen, D Metcalfe.
Match report from Isle of Wight RFC
Rugby photography: Andrew Cooper Photography
Isle of Wight RFC