Winchester III 36, Ryde 5
INJURY-hit Ryde found the going tough against strong Winchester in Merit Two.
The Islanders were missing several key backs, including talismanic fly-half David True, so a reshuffle saw Danny Vyse move into fly-half with Josh Sayers and Rob Knight filling the centre positions. Flankers Matt Wilks and Andy Fraser-Woodbridge put in a good shift in the unfamiliar wing position, while the ever-reliable Paul Roberts filled in at full back.
The hosts started strongly and scored a quick try but Ryde quickly found their rhythm and a superb pass from Wilks Lettings man of the match Vyse set Knight off on a powerful run and he offloaded to Sayers for an unconverted try.
For the rest of the half, Ryde more than held their own, with Falcon man of the match and captain Martin Kirwood-Slack particularly strong.
With half an hour gone, Winchester were reduced to 14 men after their flanker was sent off but Ryde couldn’t capitalise on their numerical advantage, and it was the home side who struck next to make it 12-5 at half time.
In the second half, Winchester began to pull away despite Ryde’s best efforts. Towards the end, fatigue and injuries started to take their toll and Winchester scored another couple of tries in the final ten minutes to boost the final score.