By captain Zac Eyley
On a very cold December afternoon Ventnor travelled over to Portsmouth for a frosty fixture.
Ventnor won the toss and elected to start at the clubhouse end of the pitch with Portsmouth choosing to recieve the kick.
The match started well with some hard carries and tackles in the midfield from Rusi, Zac and Tim forming a formidable pod running onto clean ball from the back of an exceptional lineout.
After a few phases Tim found himself in support of the backs and was put into space outside the opposition 22, the second row galloped in and scored before the full back could catch him.
Despite our linesman giving the conversion the referee sided with the opposition and called it short.
Unfortunately Ventnor came prepared with an excellent scrum and outclassed the Portsmouth pack driving us off the ball multiple times. Despite some tweaks and changes we were unable to challenge them and struggled to get clean ball.
After a couple of phases and penalties in the Ventnor half the backs put on a masterclass of handling and got the ball to George Taylor who ran around the outside of Ventnor’s last defender to score out wide.
Unfortunately too wide for the conversion to come off.
First half ended 10:3
The second half restart gave Portsmouth a chance to put Ventnor under immediate pressure in the second half, with Ventnor kicking the ball to our back three giving last minute swap Josh a chance to run right bacl at them, drawing in defenders and creating huge gaps in their defence.
The penalty count from both team was high throughout the game, and unfortunately after some unseen old school rucking and fisty cuffs, Ventnor 13 punched our scrumhalf and some scrappy afters led to yellow cards for both of them.
Shortly after a penalty was awarded to Portsmouth inside the Ventnor half, Fly Half Tommy Hare spotted a chaotic disorganised defence and took a quick tap and danced through the defenders to score our only try if the second half.
Ventnor clawed back an unconverted try, after a well organised rolling maul sucked in Portsmouth defenders leaving gaps for a hard runner to score.
With 8 minutes left on the clock Portsmouth were awarded a penalty in front of the sticks, with Tommy slotting the 3 points to put Portsmouth 2 scores ahead.
Despite an attempt from a driving maul and some close range attempts Portsmouth defened their lines well to the end.
Result 18:8 for the first home win this season.
This result marks a huge improvement in defence and specifically the line speed, spearheaded by Scott Weatherhead who put in a brilliant shift.
Motm awarded to Tommy Hare for his vision in loose play and game management in the second half to close the game out. Unfortunately he was conveniently driving so the post game award went to Scott Weatherhead, once again bailing his fly half out by putting his body on the line.
The team objective is to win every home game this half of the season, so far so good, I’m a happy captain this week!
Roll on Gosport and Fareham 2s away next week, we cannot wait to get our revenge for the reverse fixture earlier in the year.