Ian Lane showed the way with a massive counter ruck that provided Ed Blake with a chance to run deep into opposition territory. He passed to Sam Lines and was there to take the return but the ball went to ground.
Ventnor’s scrummage – with Adam Pratt and Ben Savill prominent – made a mess of Southampton’s ball and Jake Babington shot down the blindside to score. Ventnor’s second try was a classic. Justinas Urbonas cleaned up possession on his own try-line and sent Blake on his way. Cameron Griggs – on for the injured Chris Fletcher – carried it on and offloaded to Louis Malkin who was stopped just short but was able to put Chris Hill in for the try. Blake kicked the conversion. This was followed by another break from Babington who put Lines into the open and was there to take the return pass to score his second try of the day.
However, Southampton came back strongly and scored two tries either side of halftime to put the match back in the balance.
Max Wheeler came on for the injured Dean Magnurson and added energy upfront and Blake eased any nerves with a penalty before Andy Teague finished off another excellent move initiated by Lewis Jones and carried on by Calvin Edwards and Wheeler. Then Urbonas scorched up the middle – selling the most outrageous dummy in the process – before Teague scored again from the ensuing ruck. Blake converted.
George Finan continued the try scoring with a powerful burst up the right and doing brilliantly to resist a number of tacklers. Then good defence by replacement Alex Enache gave Babington a chance to cut back across the field to feed Lines who put Hill in under the posts. Again Blake converted.
Finally, from the ensuing kick-off, Teague took the ball forward and Malkin found Lines in enough space to scamper through for Ventnor’s last try which Blake converted.
Southampton never gave up, scoring a third try during the second half and, desperate for their fourth, set up a siege on Ventnor’s line which the home team did brilliantly to resist despite a yellow card for Malkin. This was a great victory for Ventnor and, assisted by other results, propelled them out of the immediate relegation zone.
Final Score: Ventnor 51 – 22 Southampton
A J Wells Man of the Match: Max Wheeler
Red Funnel Moment of the Match: Calvin Edwards
Team: Savill, Jones (capt), Pratt, Teague, Lane, Magnurson, Hill, Fletcher, Malkin, Lines, Blake, Edwards, Babington, Finan, Urbonas subs: Griggs, Wheeler, Enache
Ventnor would like to thank their match sponsors: Stewart Blackmore, The Bistro, The Bonchurch Inn, The Crab and Lobster Ventnor and The Kitchen at London House.
Report by James Morton