Victory over Fawley was a just reward for Ventnor’s Division One team that has been threatening to do great things for several weeks now.
Playing with terrific physical intensity, the home team took the game to a strong Fawley side who defended resolutely but were never able to get a foothold in the game.
For Ventnor, it started in the pack with the front row of Adam Pratt, skipper Lewis Jones and Ben Savill completely dominating the set-piece. Veteran Todd Riches reminded the enthralled spectators of his power and experience as he returned to the second row. The back-row of Dominic Marsh, Harry Colson and Chris Hill were at their marauding best and were well supported by Dean Magnurson who seemed to attract the ball like a magnet.
Sam Lines opened the scoring, sliding in after another powerful scrum allowed Paul Berry to feed Calvin Edwards. Lines burst onto the ball and Ventnor were into a deserved lead. Fawley reacted strongly and it took some stern defence to keep them out. Rosco Harris was safe under the high ball and Marsh pulled off a try-saving tackle before Ventnor wrestled back control and won a penalty within kicking range. Riches lined it up but the ball swept across the face of the posts – straight into the arms of the charging Ed Blake who touched down!
At half-time, Ventnor were leading 10 – 0.
The home team soon extended their lead with a crash-over from Blake after another dominant scrummage. Jake Babington then scored his customary try having twice been close earlier in the game. Blake converted and the important try bonus point was in the bag. Tristan Price came on for the outstanding Riches and Justinas Urbonas replaced George Finan whose constant threat was halted by a blatant piece of thuggery by the Fawley outside-centre. Blake duly completed his hat-trick with a typical powerful drive.
Fawley got one back when Ventnor fumbled but the Islanders went straight up the other end and Colson completed the scoring with a drive for another try which was duly converted by debutant Tom Crews who had replaced Harris and announced himself with an outstanding cover tackle to prevent a Fawley score following an interception.
Ventnor 34 – 5 Fawley
A J Wells Man of the Match: Paul Berry
Red Funnel Moment of the Match: Chris Hill
Team: Savill, Jones (capt), Pratt, Magnurson, Riches, Marsh, Colson, Hill, Berry, Edwards, Blake, Babington, Lines, Finan, Harris. Subs: Noyes, Price, Urbonas, Crews, Fox
VRFC would like to thank the match sponsors for the day: Barry Pike, Mike Buttle, Ron Hunt, Signpost Express, The Crab Shed at Wheelers Bay, The Spyglass, Ventnor Haven Fishery.