Action from the first team match. Picture by Ashley Vaughan.
IWRFC 16, Alton 22
A ROUSING start to the season saw the visit of relegated Alton to the Island.
Early Island pressure set up a drop goal for Gary Warville but this was cancelled out as Alton broke out and scored a converted try.
The Island strong running backs then set up ground for the forwards to squeeze a penalty out of the visitors. Warville converted.
The home sides scrum, dominant for much of the game, continually dominated the set piece, but Alton broke out and added a penalty. On the stroke of half time fullback Dan Stirrup stepped his way over for a try, with the Island taking a one-point lead into the second half.
A quick tap penalty by captain Brett Evans stretched the home side’s lead to six points. Alton were determined their trip was not to fade out, broke away and scores an unconverted try. The last ten minutes were desperate as the Island fought to maintain their lead and the visitors scrabbled for the win.
Fortune was not with the home side, as, with the last move of the game Alton forced their way over under the posts.
Rouse Intelligent Financial Planning man of the match went to second row Dan Hodgson on his first team debut.
IW II 14, Market House Pirates 31
Hampshire’s newest club enjoyed victory in their first competitive game.
In their previous incarnation as Fareham Heathens, the Market House Pirates won the Merit Three title last season, the IW were under no illusions as to the task facing them but they conceded a relatively soft try from a set scrum.
Prompted by Rouse man of the match Colman Cotter, who played for 30 minutes immediately after completing the Layla’s Trust Bike Hike from John O’Groats, the Islanders hit back. Cotter’s long pass found Will Peters, whose pass allowed wing Ali Gates to score clear from well inside his own half. Kieran Leahy converted for a 7-5 lead.
Winger Gates scored his second and Leahy’s extras made the score 14-5.
Pirates scored to narrow the gap, before adding a crucial seven-pointer with the last play of the half to lead 17-14.
In the third quarter, Pirates dominated both scrum and lineout. They registered a converted try but were denied continuity time and again by sterling Island work at the breakdown, led by Mark Westley and impressive back-row debutant Keith Wallace. The IW were led throughout by example by stalwart Kevin Scovell, playing his last game before emigration and captaining the team.
The visitors’ defence was not found wanting, and it was they who scored the final try of the match, setting up an arguably flattering winning margin.
IW: Leahy, Coates, Gilpin, Carter, Gates, Peters, Cotter, Brine, Love, Scovell, Westley, Harrison, Wallace, Joyce, Lock. Replace-ments: Hatch, Mitchell, Harley, Crane, Leitch, Church, Lilly.
• Pictures from our online gallery www.iwcpgallery.co.uk below.
Click on the image for a larger version.