Things looked grim for the home side, but this all changed when Jake Babington fielded a ball in his own 22 and slalomed his way through the defence and sent out the perfect pass to Sam Lines to score. This seemed to galvanise the home team and from then on it was a much more even contest with lots to admire from both sides.
Once again, Ventnor’s scrum was performing well with Ben Savill and Adam Pratt putting Fawley’s feed under pressure and even winning a rarely awarded penalty in the second half. In addition, Lewis Jones was hitting his jumper Joe Coghlan with pin-point accuracy and, as ever, Dan Bell was making storming inroads into the opposition defence with the rapid support of Chris Hill, Coghlan and Joel Walton in particular.
However the heavy Fawley forwards could make progress through the rucks and scored a fourth try just before half-time to turn round 5-26 to the good.
Half time: Ventnor 5-26 Fawley
The second half started strongly for Ventnor when Andy Teague made a powerful run up the middle and Babington fought his way over the line on the left wing after excellent work by Louis Malkin and Jones. Tom Cruise slotted an impressive conversion. Cruise followed this up with a penalty after a turnover by Walton and the home team were back in the game at 15 – 26. Luke Butler was asking questions of the Fawley defence but a breakout by the visitors resulted in a try that put the game beyond Ventnor. Never a team to give up, Ventnor struck back with when Hill forced his way over after another storming run by Bell, but Fawley had the final word with a penalty after a crunching tackle by Max Wheeler was harshly penalised.
Final Score: Ventnor 22-34 Fawley
The A.J. Wells Man of the Match: Joe Coghlan
The Red Funnel Moment of the Match: Jake Babington
Ventnor: Savill, Jones (capt), Pratt, Teague, Walton, Coghlan, Hill, Bell, Malkin, Blake, Butler, Lines, Edwards, Babington, Cruise. Subs: M. Wheeler, Wyatt.
Next Saturday, Ventnor 2nds play Eastleigh 3rds at Watcombe Bottom.
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