A RUGBY match staged in memory of highly-respected Isle of Wight firefighter Martin Poynter was watched by a big crowd on a day where hundreds of pounds was raised for charity at Ventnor Rugby Club.

The inaugural Martin Poynter Cup charity match was played between a Ventnor team and an Emergency Services team at Watcombe Bottom yesterday afternoon (Saturday).

The match formed the centrepiece to a day of fundraising in aid of The Martin Poynter Trust, which supports the Isle of Wight branch of the Stroke Association.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Action between Ventnor (in blue) against an Emergency Services team, for the inaugural Martin Poynter Cup clash at Watcombe Bottom yesterday.

It included a raffle, which alone raised over £700, with the final total estimated to be over £2,000. 

Although the final score was 42-17 in Ventnor's favour, having scored eight tries to the Emergency Services side's two, it was more important to the players what the game represented.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Supported by a crowd of well over 300, comfortably Ventnor's biggest attendance of the season for any game, the match was officially kicked off by Toby Poynter, the son of Martin, playing for the Emergency Services team.

It followed a minute's applause.

One of Martin's other sons, Max, presented the match ball to Toby, for him to kick-off the game.

Ventnor's team was captained by Sam Dawson, with their try scorers including Ed Blake, Todd Riches and Aidan Price.

Toby had the honour of scoring the final try of the game as rules were relaxed to allow more Emergency Services players to join in and force Ventnor back in the maul, with the match ending with 50 players on the field of play.

Isle of Wight County Press:

According to Emergency Services coach, Zoe Jones, after the game, Toby said: "Dad would've loved this."

Zoe added: "It was a great day and the match was played in a very, very good spirit. The match will be played annually. 

Isle of Wight County Press:

"I had to coach four of our team on how to make a rugby tackle, which they had never done in their life."

The trophy, the Martin Poynter Cup, was donated by all four watches at Newport Fire Station.