Dean Jennings, left, scored a memorable try while Chris Williams, right, suffered a recurrence of his back injury.
RUGBY IW 10, Fordingbridge 31
A FAMILIAR pattern for IW continued at Wootton Rec on Saturday, as the Islanders delivered a strong performance which was not reflected in the scoreline.
Fordingbridge were the classier outfit and deserved their win but also had to show plenty of heart against a determined IW.
IW were without a number of regulars and faced the stiff breeze in the first half, but spent a good part of it in opposition territory, although the first 20 minutes were scoreless.
Injuries depleted IW resources further in the first half, with Martin Tanner forced off after ten minutes before the loss of Chris Williams to a recurrence of his back injury after 28 minutes, really had an effect.
After a lengthy stoppage while Williams was removed from the pitch, the IW lost concentration and Fordingbridge took advantage with two tries to take a 12-0 lead.
After five minutes of second-half stalemate, IW took over, with Brett Evans and Gary Warvill setting up good attacks. However, they met fierce resistance from the visitors, who repelled a series of assaults but incurred a yellow card owing to foul play. After a series of scrums and penalties on the five metre line, captain Evans took a quick tap and slid over on 56 minutes to narrow the gap.
Unfortunately, kicker Lewis Murray’s radar was off on this occasion, missing the conversion and an earlier kickable penalty. Of more importance in the final analysis was Fordingbridge’s response to conceding a try, as they found a gap in the IW defence to score and lead 17-5.
IW were soon back on the offensive, and Rouse Ltd man of the match Dean Jennings crashed over in the corner for a memorable try. The gap was now back to seven points, but once again Fordingbridge hit back within minutes of the restart.
In the last ten minutes, the IW threw caution to the wind but were unable to break down the visitors. Fordingbridge wrested back control, and added a fifth try in the seventh minute of stoppage time.
IW: Stirrup, Murray, Ridley, Andy Brown, Williams, Warvill, Evans, M Tanner, Newnham, Jennings, Thomas, Hay, Wallace, Hatch, Lynch. Replacements: D Tanner, Eggleton, Harrison.