ROYAL NAVY 28 HAMPSHIRE 5 – match report
by Richard V Isaacs
The Royal Navy retained the Wightlink Bowl for a second successive year when they ran out 28-5 victors over Hampshire at a fog-bound Burnaby Road on Wednesday evening.
With both sides edging ever closer to their respective Championship tournaments, it was more than a decent run out although it was clear that the Navy side were the sharper of the two outfits.
However, it was Hampshire who were the stronger of the sides in the opening quarter, making some keen runs into Navy territory but failed to come away with any reward for their efforts.
They did have a chance to get points on the board on 16 minutes but Alex Sutherland’s 25 yard penalty shot sailed wide.
Having soaked up that incessant pressure, the Navy broke the shackles and opened the scoring when skipper Ed Pascoe took advantage of Hampshire’s miscommunication at the line-out and stole over, with Cadywould adding the extras.
And having gotten a foothold into the contest, number 8 David Fairbrother had a mixed last few minutes of the first-half.
On 36 minutes, he was on the end of a good attacking move to score, which was improved by Cadywould, although he was spending ten minutes in the sin-bin shortly after.
Like the first half, Hampshire started the second with purpose and, after a sustained period of pressure on the Navy line, Sutherland burrowed his way to the line and after some discussion between referee and assistant, the try was awarded.
As the fog continued to descend, making visibility tricky, the game ebbed and flowed with both sides trying to break through the stubborn defence.
It wasn’t until the last couple of minutes that the scoreline took a unfair reflection on the contest overall as the Navy’s superior fitness today and they scored twice.
Firstly, Dave Pascoe cut through the Hampshire back line to score under the posts and then with the final move of the game, replacement Bowden made a 40 yard break and outrun the defence. Cadywould competed a full-house of conversions.
All in all, it was more than a useful run out for Hampshire as they begin their preparations for the County Championship campaign, which kicks off on May 6 against North Midlands.
The coaching staff have some tough decisions to make over the next six weeks.
The Wightlink Bowl was presented by Stuart James, Wightlink’s Marketing and Innovation Director.