Gosport & Fareham II 19-37 Isle of Wight RFC 1XV, Hampshire 1, 5 October 2019


After their first win of the season, Isle of Wight RFC headed to Gosport and Fareham RFC seeking their first away win, and to continue the momentum following the home win over Romsey the previous week. Captain David Blackman returned from injury to skipper a line-up showing a few changes in personnel.

Scoring was opened early with Lewis Murray kicking a penalty on the opposition 22. It was evident early on that the IW scrum would be dominant, winning not only their own ball but the opposition’s. Gosport not handling the pressure gave away a penalty, allowing a quick ball to Tom Marriott who scored under the posts, giving IW a 10-0 advantage.

The focus then turned to the IW defence, who frustratingly gave away several easy penalties to the opposition right in front of their own try line. The home team’s persistence proved too much, with G & F getting the try and converting. In response, IW began to look like the dominant team and profited from their efficient scrum when Gosport gave away another penalty in their own 22. The hosts cracked under the pressure once again, and Rouse man of the match Alex Smith pinballed off two home forwards to score the try.

With the next score before half time all important to both teams, it was Gosport who looked to their backs to keep them in it, and got the ball down in the corner. The half time whistle offered both teams a welcome breather after a fast-paced first half, IW leading 17-12.

IW opened the second half scoring with Tom Marriott throwing a dummy pass, and running through himself for another try. The reliable boot of Murray made it 24-12. IW kept the pressure on well into the second half, with the dominant scrum and discipline giving them the edge and a further 10 points. However, a chip and chase from the hosts Gosport earned a slice of luck, with the ball bouncing back off the post and touched down for a try, narrowing the gap to 34-19.

A late penalty allowed IW to further their lead and as the final whistle blew, fans and players cheered knowing that a hard fought victory was well earned. The IW 2nds received a walkover from Basingstoke, and both teams now have a free week before returning to action on Sat. 19 Oct., hosting Tottonians II and III at Wootton Rec.

IW: Ward, C Browne, D Blackman, L Blackman, Langdon, Murray, Marriott, Blackburn, McQueen, Newnham, Jones, Pudney, Raunigger, Bennett, A Smith, A Groves, S Browne.

Forced to field without injured captain David Blackman, IW welcomed back Alex Smith, Alex Hay and Ed Lynch to first team action after long absences. Cameron Browne made his first team debut on the wing, following in the footsteps of his parents Stuart and Alison, both of whom wore the club colours with distinction. IW had the advantage of a strong diagonal breeze in the first period, but in truth there was little to shout about from either side early on. Romsey opened the scoring early on after some sub-standard home defence, but IW started to settle and edged the territorial battle as the half went on, with a dominant scrum performance. There was no change from the Romsey defence at first, but IW began to play more directly and mauled well at times, forcing a yellow card from an illegal Romsey intervention.

The sinbin period was soon capitalised on by IW, as good driving play led to a try for the influential Smith. Now starting to get on top, IW spent the last five minutes of the half camped on the Romsey line, being held up over the whitewash twice. Eventually, captain Andy Brown crashed over as IW now led 14-7.

Now facing the awkward breeze, it seemed doubtful that a seven point lead was enough of a cushion for the Islanders, but their second half performance rendered the conditions irrelevant. Excellent carrying and offloading by the forwards was replicated by the back division, as passes that previously went to ground or forward began to stick, while support play was markedly improved. Each of the team’s second half tries featured several phases of continuity, the first scored by Rouse Ltd man of the match Martin Newnham, and the second by in-form no. 8 Luke Blackman.

As Romsey faded, Brown added his second try, before the pick of tries came when IW moved the ball from inside their own 22, a sumptuous move being finished by impressive full-back Dan Ward. Lynch put the icing on the cake by marking his return with a score in the closing minutes, though Romsey persisted and were rewarded by closing the scoring. Biffa man of the match Lewis Murray kicked well in the difficult crosswind, landing five conversions in total.

Isle of Wight RFC will look to kick on after this result, travelling away to Gosport & Fareham RFC 2XV on Saturday, while the seconds host Basingstoke RFC 2XV, kicking off at Wootton Rec at 3 pm.

Isle of Wight RFC 1XV: Ward, C Browne, Fitton, Chandler, Ormerod, Murray, Marriott, Blackburn, Newnham, A Smith, G Smith, Jones, Brown, Lynch, L Blackman. Replacements: Hay, Bennett, Langdon.

Match report: Isle of Wight RFC

Related links:

Isle of Wight RFC

Romsey RFC