Colts V's Alton B
A great game enjoyed by all
A quick try and conversion were all it took to kick this game into life. Vectis, finding themselves 7 – 0 down inside the first 5 minutes, quickly realised that this would be there hardest game to date. Rather than allow early capitulation though, the island based team took the fight straight back to the visiting side.
After some very impressive attacking rugby Vectis found themselves in the Alton 22. Not to be outdone though the mainland team met every wave of attack with solid defence. After an infringement at the breakdown thought Vectis were awarded a penalty, a quick tap from tighthead prop Elys Norman, close to the try-line, seemed a dead cert for Vectis’ first points, but more illegal play from Alton stopped it. The referee though, seeing this quickly awarded a penalty try, Vectis were off the mark, and with Max Wheeler calmly slotting the extra 2 points it was all square.
Some very good attacking rugby was played by both sides during the first half, epitomised beautifully in Vectis’s second try of the match. Great support play from the forwards allowed a stable platform for scrum half James Reed (only just missing out on ‘man of the match’), zipping a lovely flat pass to fly half Luke Blackman. Blackman, quick thinking as always, looped a pin point pass through to outside centre and eventual ‘man of the match’ (due to his mighty attacking, and defending) Luke Wedderkop. Setting off on a scything run, Wedderkop outpaced the entire back line of Alton, neatly stepping back inside the covering full back and dotting down between the posts to make the conversion that much easier for Wheeler. Vectis 14, Alton 7.
One of Vectis’s major problems on the day was the inability to make first tackles, unfortunately allowing Alton to gain momentum. Stunning defensive efforts by Wedderkop in the loose, and both Reed and Oscar Pusey (deputising at prop for the 4th match in a row) in the tight kept the island boys in the game. They could not however keep the visiting side at bay forever and Alton scored another try not long before the end of the half. Not to be outdone by either his centre partner or the opposition George Lawrence, making his triumphant return to the 12 shirt, took a cheeky little offload off of Blackman, running straight and hard, crashing over just to the right of the posts to end the half. 19 – 14 in the home teams favour.
Regrettably the second half is where the lack of subs really started to take its toll on the Vectis colts. Chris Wilson, coming on the wing was immediately in the game with both strong running and solid defence, chasing down a kick almost resulted in more points but the attack was just snuffed out. Alton on the other hand really started to push on with the help of fresh legs. Two unanswered trys without convertions meant that the visitors were now 24 – 19 up. A rallying cry from captain Damian Seder and a great steal and run at the line out from blindside flanker Drew-Connor Tombleson put Vectis back on the front foot. Some great rucking work by Tom Randall meant ball retention was no problem and a brilliant backs move led to winger Wheeler using his size and strength to his advantage, crashing through two defenders to get his first try of the season, narrowly missing with his conversion attempt.
All square at 24 – 24 it looked as if Vectis might just edge their mainland opposition in the last minutes of the game. Annoyingly for the boys the rugby gods just weren’t with them this day as although there was plenty of great attacking rugby the last passes didn’t quite go to hand. More frustratingly the high penalty count cost Vectis, with stalwart open side flanker Barney Thomas spending 10 minutes in the sinbin. A team yellow if ever there was one (I should know). This loss of a player and the lack of subs was simply too much for the home side and perhaps inevitably the shipped another unconverted try to the visitors. Heads can be held high though as the spirit and heart the young island based team showed in the final minutes of the match was something to behold. Heart alone was not enough to win it on the day though and the match finished 24 – 31 for Alton. A great game enjoyed by all despite the score line.
By Harrison Booth