Colts continue winning ways
Vectis 20 – Basingstoke 17
On a cold and windy day at the fairway rugby ground (usually home to SSFRC, who hosted the Vectis team this time around), there was something to warm the hearts of any island rugby fan, as the new look Vectis colts registered another win against tough opposition. Building on the success of their previous game and adding more players to the match day squad made for a lively encounter between the islands next generation of rugby players and a team ranked quite a bit higher than them in the Hampshire leagues.
Basingstoke were the team to visit the island on this occasion and came more than prepared, with many of their county level players in the starting line-up. The young men from Vectis were not to be daunted though. A very strong start from the first whistle put Vectis firmly on the front foot, surprising the visitors with their pace and ferocity in the tackle. Basingstoke were immediately pinned on their own try line and resorted to foul play to stop the trademark marauding runs of Elys Norman. A quick tap from the resulting penalty led to Fly half Luke Blackman darting over from close range to get Vectis off the mark early in the game.
This seemed to be the wake up that Basingstoke needed as they hit back immediately with a try of their own, owing to some slow Vectis defence more than anything else. Not to be outdone on home soils though, Vectis instantly returned the favour. Luke Hennegan, playing at hooker, (who narrowly missed out on ‘man of the match’) was in fine form, winning more of the opposition’s ball than the Basingstoke hooker did himself. On this occasion Hennegan seemed to pluck the ball almost from the second rows legs, allowing the Vectis forwards to secure the ball at the base of the scrum. Quick thinking and quicker running allowed captain, and number 8, Damian Seder to crash over just to the right of the posts to cap off the most exciting opening 10 minutes of a game the fairway has seen in a long time.
The game then seemed to go back and forth, with each team looking to have gained the upper hand at different times. Solid defence from both sides meant that scoring was limited in this half, and stellar individual efforts from Jack Simmon’s, starting at Full back, and Pusey, once again deputising at prop kept the visitors at bay for most of the half. Some poor communication from Vectis led to Basingstoke slipping through not long before the half with another uncovered try. Having been all over the pitch in both attack and defence, ‘man of the match’ Harry Miselbach managed to rip the ball from a Basingstoke player’s hands, turn, and set off for the visitors try line form just over the half way. Showing pace, power and balanced running reminiscent of the senior Miselbach, the open side flanker managed to bat away 3 separate Basingstoke defenders to put Vectis 15 – 10 up at the whistle.
During the second half both teams attacked and defended well resulting in some enjoyable rugby, special mention goes to Lawrence, who on his first start in a Vectis shirt for a long time, managed make hit after hit in defence, knocking the Basingstoke players backwards on each one and severely hampering their attack, and with Eastwood making a complete nuisance of himself in the loose, there was no way thorough the Vectis defence. Vectis seemed to have gained the upper hand and spent most of the half searching for another score. Against the run of play though, the visitors managed to capitalise on a Vectis mistake and score under the posts, adding the conversion to make for a tense final 10 minutes. In true Vectis rugby style, the home team did not allow their heads to drop, brilliant leadership from Seder rallied the home team for one final big effort. Sustain attacking pressure from the forwards, with the second row pairing of Tom Randall and Micheal Joyce really working hard to gain the hard yards, coupled with quick hands and insight for the backs allowed the devastating Luke Wedderkop to smash through the flailing defence and dot down right between the sticks. Leaving it late, and giving the coaching staff heart problems the Vectis boys finished the game on 20 – 17 at the final whistle.
Basingstoke gave a very good account of themselves and their club but were just not enough for the island based team on the day. A strong unity and sense of teamwork was really what saw the home side through on this occasion and with the game being played in an amicable and well contested nature, the hard work that Vectis have put in at training finally paid dividends. By, Harrison Booth