Portsmouth III 7, Ryde 36
RYDE began the year in the best possible way by defeating a strong Portsmouth III side away from home.
Blustery conditions almost stopped Ryde from even leaving the Island, and when they did finally make it they lost the toss and had to play the first half into the wind.
Portsmouth pushed hard from the off and soon made the conditions and their pressure count with a try.
The wind was so strong Ryde couldn’t kick the ball clear so had to run everything. Luckily, that played to their strengths and several good breaks from the superb debutant Jonny Lewis, supported by Vince Kennedy, made ground.
To slow Ryde down, Portsmouth kept infringing, and the Islanders used quick tap penalties to work their way up the field and this paid off when Martin Kirwood-Slack crashed over to score Ryde’s first try. Wilks Lettings man of the match Calvin Edwards made excellent yards from the restart and the ball found Danny Vyse who crashed over in the corner. As the half came to a close Portsmouth pushed hard to retake the lead but the try line defence of the Island side was outstanding, eventually turning the ball over and clearing to end the half 10-7 ahead.
With the wind at their backs in the second half, Ryde knew the victory was theirs for the taking, and so it proved.
Ryde’s scrum was superb, Adam Moody at hooker in particular winning a number of balls.
This gave Ryde a solid platform for the backs to build on and after a well worked backs move, winger Rob Knight, returning from injury, cut a beautiful angle to scythe in under the posts, Kennedy converting. Soon after, Ryde extended their lead further through Josh Sayers. High Park Tavern man of the match, Tom Dibben, had a superb game and he nearly had the score his performance deserved but was tackled just short of the line, after another break from Sayers.
The missed opportunity wasn’t to matter, however, as another quick penalty from True led to a break and Kirwood-Slack was once again there to finish, Kennedy converting again.
Ryde looked to finish the game in style and did so when a clever miss pass from Dickie Waldron put True into space, and as True drew three covering defenders to him, Kennedy executed a perfectly timed run and scored under the posts. Kennedy converted again to give Ryde a well-deserved victory.
Ryde: Gough, Moody, Anthony, Dibben, Kirwood-Slack, Edwards, Fraser-Woodbridge, Sayers, Waldron, True, Lewis, Kennedy, Knight, Vyse, Roberts.