FOLLOWING a break from league action for the Isle of Wight's three sides last week, it is back to the business of improving or consolidating their positions with wins.

In the Hampshire Premiership, Sandown and Shanklin I make the trip across The Solent to face bottom side Gosport and Fareham II for the first time this season.

Both teams are having polar opposite seasons currently, with the Islanders sitting comfortably in second in the league.

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Skipper Sam Flux, with the ball, has been sidelined by injury for the Hurricanes' Hampshire Premiership match at Gosport and Fareham II on Saturday.  FILE

Nevertheless, the fixture will still be a stern test for the Hurricanes as they look to continue their impressive winning form in the league.

Last time out, the Hurricanes were defeated in the Junior Vase by Gillingham Anchorians, but skipper Sam Flux believes there is no better way of getting over the cup exit than by getting back out on the field and winning again this weekend. 

Sandown and Shanklin will be without their captain this week, however, as he recovers from a jaw injury he suffered against Fordingbridge two weeks ago and aggravated in the cup loss last weekend.

The Hurricanes will also be without fly-half Cameron Mitchell, who is still recovering from his ankle injury, also sustained in the Fordingbride clash.

Adding to this, the first team will also be missing the services of important regulars Ben Shannon, Sam Tyson, Charles Little and Damian Seder.

The absences present an opportunity for young second row player Jack Winter to make a start on Saturday, joined by Henry Bagnall, who returns from injury, and Sam Branston, who is expected to make his first appearance of the season.

Centre Jack Wedderkop also returns to the line-up after recovering from a shoulder niggle that kept him out of the cup fixture.

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Jack Wedderkop witrh the ball will make a welcome return to the Hurricanes line-up on Saturday.  FILE

In Flux's absence, the captaincy will be handed to Zak Chiverton.

"Zak has been improving his game this season and building upon the performances he put in last year, while understanding the game from other players' perspectives," said Flux.

"He has been a leader on and off the field and, by taking on the captaincy this weekend, it will be another good opportunity for him to continue to develop as an integral voice in the team and with the management."

Sandown & Shanklin II return to action in Hampshire 4 this week, following a two-week gap since their last fixture.

The last time out, the side travelled to Alton with only nine men, but still managed to come away with the spoils, winning 67-7.

Seconds skipper Liam Little is hopeful of a good result ahead of the game against Chineham on Saturday, which will be their last in this calendar year.

"We have been in great form and, despite the point that we've only played four games, we are still undefeated," said Little. 

"Add to that the two walk-overs we received and it becomes a six-game winning streak.

"We have a great core of players at the moment, such as Dan Sayers, who 'tore up trees' last time out, scoring six tries, and who is now getting recognition from the first team.

"Likewise, the consistent performances from Harry Fyffe, George Law and Zac Davies are the foundation on which this team is currently built.

"There has been a big improvement from the team we had last year, helped by having a consistent group of players at training and matches. 

"We can't rest on our laurels though. This year has been great, but we want the Hurricanes seconds to be the best second team on the Island and county, which won't happen overnight."

At Wootton Recreation Ground, mid-table Isle of Wight I welcome high-flying Farnborough in Hampshire 1. 

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Isle of Wight face second place Farnborough in Hampshire 1 at Wootton on Saturday.  FILE

The Islanders will be seeking revenge after Farnborough beat them in the Hampshire Cup semi-final last February.

Club secretary Kieran Leahy said: "Going by the form guide, Farnborough are clear favourites, having had some big victories with a strong forward pack.

"Yet on our best form, which we haven't always shown this season, victory is possible." 

Isle of Wight have learned that James Curran's recent injury will keep him out for the season, but Kevin Blackburn and Andi Raunigger are back into contention for selection up front.Isle of Wight County Press:

On the adjoining pitch, Isle of Wight II will entertain their Farnborough counterparts and aim to maintain their 100 per cent Hampshire 3 record, but will be wary of rustiness after four weeks without a game.

Karl Davey is unavailable, but the experienced Colman Cotter returns to the fray.

Manager Dean Jennings said: "It's our last league game of 2018 and I want the lads to start like a whirlwind this time following our terrible first half performance at Millbrook.

"Our home ground has been a fortress this season, and we'd like to keep it that way."

Ventnor I will be hoping to continue their good run of home form in Hampshire I when they entertain Overton I, who sit in fifth place, at Watcombe Bottom.

It will not be an easy game for the Islanders, who sit eighth with four wins out of nine so far this season.

Ventnor captain Jake Babbington said: "We have a few regular players out due to injury this week, but we do welcome the debut from new signing Pat Dawes, and a little bit of magic being added from veteran Allan Bridges with his inclusion.

“Overton are always a strong side, home or away, whenever we have played them.

"Our boys will need to be ready to step up and hold nothing back for this certainly winnable home fixture, to get some more points on the board before the Christmas break.”

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Ventnor's Harry Colson, an important figure for the side this season.  Photo: Andrew Cooper

The second team's fixture away at Romsey II has been postponed until Saturday, December 8, following a request from the mainland side, unable to raise a team. 

All matches kick off at 2pm on Saturday.