Ventnor Rugby Club CrestVentnor 2nds scored 58 points against Eastleigh on Saturday (12th March).

An immaculate pitch at a sunny Watcombe Bottom was the scene for an entertaining match in which skipper Dean Magnurson was able to call on almost a full squad to face a sporting Eastleigh 3rds side. This surfeit of players allowed Ventnor to run a continual round of rolling substitutions – expertly handled by Stuart Babington – that eventually wore down the opposition and helped clinch a convincing win.

Ventnor opened the scoring when Tommy Engelgardt chased his own kick ahead, allowing Chris Hill to win a penalty, from which quick work from Ross Harris set up a rampaging Charlie Magnurson to blast over the line.

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Eastleigh hit back almost immediately, but it was Ventnor on the move again when Todd Riches broke through the middle only to tumble inches from the line. The ruck was won, and Oscar Fitzgerald put James Morley in for the try. Gav Davis then got his name on the score sheet when Ed Blake chased a Riches kick and set the ball up for the powerful centre to touch down.

Again, Eastleigh struck back to bring the score to 19 – 14, and it looked like a very even contest despite the fact that Ventnor’s scrum had got on top with debutant George Collett at prop proving to be the star of the show.  Additionally, the line-out was working well with Ben Gough finding his jumpers well – in particular, Aaron ‘Fred’ Newman and Joe Coghlan – who provided a stream of clean ball.

Ventnor eventually began to stretch ahead with two tries from Max Wheeler either side of halftime. For the first, Tom Crews fielded a ball in his own half and made ground before Engelgardt, Blake and Cory Turner made space for Wheeler to break down the left wing and score. For the second, it was much the same with Fitzgerald, Blake and Engelgardt providing the ammunition.

With Eastleigh beginning to tire, a drive by Collett allowed Harris to get his line moving and Riches and Dean Magnurson put Hill in for a try. Then, more great work by Turner gave Ed Blake  the chance for his customary try before a classic pick up from Riches – now at number eight – provided Harris a straight run through under the posts in a move that rolled back the Watcombe clock.

Turner switched from provider to scorer for Ventnor’s ninth try with a sprint down the left wing before the excellent Crews finished off the scoring when – once again – Turner provided the final pass.

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The game was played in great spirit throughout with a few Ventnor players swapping shirts to bolster up a tiring Eastleigh defence.  The match was expertly refereed by Clive Cardwell-Hill, who demonstrated a light touch throughout that enhanced a great afternoon’s entertainment.

Final score: Ventnor 2nd XV 58 – 14 Eastleigh 3rd XV

Ventnor 2nd XV: Collett, Gough, Pratt, Morley, J Blake, D Magnurson (capt), Newman, C Magnurson, Harris, Edwards, Turner, G Davis, Fitzgerald, Hill, T Engelgardt. Subs: Price, Coghlan, T Riches, M Wheeler, E Blake, Crews, L Morton

The A.J. Wells Man of the Match:  George Collett
The Red Funnel Moment of the Match:  Todd Riches

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Ventnor’s next game will be on Saturday, 26th March, when Ventnor 1sts play Gosport and Fareham 2nds at Watcombe Bottom, and Ventnor 2nds play Fareham Heathens away from home.

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