The scoreline does not remotely reflect the action on the pitch where the Islanders more than matched the hosts in many aspects of play and never allowed their spirits or energy to drop.
Right from the first whistle, Ventnor’s cause was not helped by a first minute yellow card for the returning Tom Engelgardt for a hand-off that was deemed to be over-aggressive. Although Ellingham scored a couple of tries in that 10 minute period, it was already evident that Ventnor’s pack was up to the challenge. The defence of Colson, Morton, Savill and Green was mighty throughout whilst the front row of Noyes, Jones and Pratt were the dominant force in the set piece.
Nothing came through the middle and it was only out wide that Ellingham had an advantage due to so many Ventnor players coming to terms with unaccustomed positions. Despite this, the tackling of Urbonas, Edwards and Blake was of heroic proportions and thus restricted the hosts to a 24 point lead at half-time. At this point, Ventnor lost the ever-willing Mark Tucker to injury, so were already a man down before Calvin Edwards – after yet another tackle – had to leave the pitch with ten minutes to go, thus Ventnor finished the game with 13 men.
but still kept banging on the door with Colson, Babington and Blake all stopped inches from the line. A loss of composure at these times probably cost the Islanders several tries that they richly deserved. Meanwhile Ellingham simply gave up trying to go through the middle such was the blue wall that the visitors presented and went wide where Ventnor’s lack of numbers took its toll. Even so, there were examples of magnificent defence when Teague somehow got back to stop a certain try and young Gareth Gough – growing into the game throughout – pulled off a marvellous tackle to prevent another. At the final whistle, it was both telling and gratifying that the Ellingham team acknowledged the massive challenge that Ventnor had presented.
A J Wells Man of the Match – Dan Noyes
Red Funnel Moment of the Match – Andy Teague for his ‘clearance’ kick
Ellingham & Ringwood 1st XV 63 – 0 Ventnor 1st XV
Team: Noyes, Jones, Pratt, Savill, Teague, Morton, Green, Colson, Babington (capt), Urbonas, Tucker, Blake, Edwards, Gough, Engelgardt.
Match Report by James Morton