Rugby returned to Wootton Rec after a 17 month hiatus with the annual Layla’s Trust charity fixture, deferred from December 2020.

A large crowd enjoyed the weather conditions and a convivial atmosphere, and were entertained by a thoroughly enjoyable 80 minutes which doubled as IW’s first full preseason fixture, after a previous internal training game.

Proceeds from match fees, a barbecue and raffle totalled over £500 and were gratefully accepted by Colman Cotter of Layla’s Trust.

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Colman says:

“It’s great to see rugby back and the Trust is grateful as ever for the continued support of the IW Rugby Club. This money continues to support families of children with terminal and life-limiting conditions. Thanks to everyone who contributed.”

The match itself was well contested throughout and yielded 13 tries. The Trust squad, made up of current and former IWRFC players, plus some guest players from Sandown/Shanklin RFC and elsewhere, always appeared the more likely winners and possessed a very dangerous backline which cut through the IW line on numerous occasions.

However, IW also played some expansive rugby and their heavier pack edged the tighter exchanges. George Huish opened the scoring for IW, but a yellow card for the same player helped the Trust to cut loose in the second quarter. Tries from Jack Davis, Jevon Dry, Michael Barrett and Angus Brown (2) gave the Trust a 27-12 halftime advantage, Luke Blackman responding for IW.

With plenty of rotation among both squads, there were some disorganised passages of play, but also some impressive structured work from the IW side, showing the benefits of preseason training to date.

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Co-captain Andrew Brown narrowed the gap and a textbook lineout maul led to the next score, Jim Willetts applying the finishing touch. Layla’s Trust replied with another Barrett try, before IW chairman Stuart Browne touched down for a popular score.

Again the Trust gave themselves breathing space, but again the home club came back, the returning Dan Tennant showing his pace to score in the corner. The final whistle saw the invitational side victorious on a day when rugby and charity were the winners.

Meanwhile, IW continue their preseason campaign when they host New Milton on Saturday 4th September at Wootton Rec.

The Wight Wolves women’s team are also holding an RFU Inner Warrior camp on Wednesday 8th September, with sessions for under 18s girls from 17:30 to 19:00 and for seniors (18+) from 18:30 to 20:00.

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Why not come along and try out the fastest growing women’s game? Further information can be found by ringing 07887557511.

IW: Huish, J Lavell, Ormerod, D Blackman, C Browne, Marriott, Augustus, Blackburn, Bennett, Newnham, D Bishop, Brown, Tennant, T Groves, L Blackman. Reps: Elsom, Willetts, J Bishop, Blyth, Lynch, Rann, M Joyce, S Browne.

Layla’s Trust: S Spencer-Brading, Brown, Barrett, Dry, Miles, Davis, Scovell, Woolgar, Guy, Keyes, Biles, Puckett, Cole, Bettum, Puzey. Reps: Cooper, Vince, McQueen, S Lavell.

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