Playing with the wind in the first half, the home team set up wave after wave of attacking phases from the outset only for minor mistakes or poor decision making to bring them up short. After a sustained period of pressure by Ventnor, it was Overton who took the lead after a break out and a scrum penalty.
Unusually for Ventnor, the set scrum was a real area of concern and coach Chris Fletcher made an early tactical switch with the hard-working Tristan Price coming off and Ben Savill crossing to loose-head and Adam Pratt joining at tight-head. This stopped the boring in of the opposition props but the scrum continued to be a problem throughout the game.
Even with wind, Ventnor refused to revert to the boot and kept the ball in hand and, soon after, Ian Lane took the ball up and Louis Malkin put Sam Lines on his jinking way. Calvin Edwards provided the link and his soft hands gave Jake Babington the chance to streak over. Ed Blake converted and Ventnor were in the lead.
Overton went straight back onto the front foot and Ventnor’s scrum problems revealed themselves again as the opposition scrum-half dotted down after a dominant drive. There now began a series of might-have-beens for Ventnor. Blake missed a penalty before putting Lines away but his pass to Rosco Harris went to ground. Chris Hill knocked on a yard short of the line. Blake broke through again but was stopped in the act of scoring. And then, in the last action before half-time, Babington was early-tackled as he was about to take a try-scoring pass from Lines.
Playing into the wind in the second half, Ventnor went straight back on the offensive with the tireless Andy Teague spearheading a massive forward effort. Blake was the pick of the backs with some powerful bursts but Overton used the wind to pin the hosts back although Justinas Urbonas was calm and collected at full-back. However, a series of penalties found the hosts back on their line and a quick tap led to a try to Overton.
Paul Berry came on for the injured Magnurson who had another effective game and George Finnan replaced Harris. This gave Ventnor a more direct style but they suffered a further set back when Overton nipped a third try from a five-metre scrum. However, for the last 15 minutes, it was all Ventnor with skipper Lewis Jones leading from the front as ever and Harry Colson putting in the hard yards. Finan took the ball into midfield, the ruck was won and Jake Babington rounded his man and scored under the posts. Trying to gain time, Hill took a quick drop conversion (and missed!) but the clock ran out with Ventnor just falling short.
Ventnor 12 – 18 Overton
Team: Price, Jones (capt), Savill, Lane, Teague, Magnurson, Colson, Hill, Malkin, Blake, Edwards, Babington, Lines, Harris, Urbonas. Subs: Pratt, Berry, Finan, Noyes, Riches
A J Wells Man of the Match: Jake Babington
Red Funnel Moment of the Match: Chris Hill
VRFC would like to thank match sponsors The Leconfield Hotel, The Millbay, The Sea Pot, The Smoking Lobster and The Two Cooks.