THE Island's two Counties 3 Hampshire sides — Ventnor and Isle of Wight — came away from their away fixtures empty handed on Saturday. 

Second bottom Ventnor, who went into their match against fellow strugglers Aldershot and Fleet with a dismal record of eight losses from nine league matches, showed real signs of progress, but suffered a narrow 31-26 defeat in their match at Aldershot.

In a game that could have gone either way. the hosts scored two tries in the first ten minutes to put Ventnor on the back foot.

But as the Islanders warmed to their task, the game became evened up, with Ben Savill leading from the front. 

The scrum creaked at times, but the line-out was much improved.

But Ventnor suffered a further setback when a kick ahead by Aldershot gave them a platform, from which they scored a pushover try to increase their lead to 19 - 0. 

Ventnor hit back when Tom Crews did brilliantly to rescue a faltering move, allowing Ed Blake to force his way over for a converted try. 

Ventnor, on the charge, finished the first half on top, but still 19-7 down.

The Islanders made a stunning start to the second half when a quickfire ruck led to a quick-tap penalty, which put Blake in for his second try, converted by Crews.

Frustratingly, Ventnor failed to capitalise on their momentum, with the game turning scrappy and niggly, during which time the hosts scored again.

After a high tackle on Lewy Morton, another penalty led to Grant Richardson powering over for a try.

A contested knock-on and foot in touch, ignored by the referee, led to the hosts scoring again to make it 31-19.

Ventnor battled on and deservedly hit back with another Blake try — his hat-trick — to bring the game to within a score, but time ran out in a pulsating finale.

Isle of Wight slipped down to third in their top of the table clash against Havant III — beaten heavily 57-7 on the road.

It was their third defeat of the campaign and still in the promotion hunt.


Counties 2 Hampshire: Sandown & Shanklin 59, Guernsey II 24.
Counties 3: Aldershot & Fleet 31, Ventnor 26; Havant III 57, Isle of Wight 7.
Counties 4B: Sandown & Shanklin II 15, Winchester III 23.
Counties 5 South: New Milton II v IW II (home win walkover).


Counties 2 Hampshire: United Services Portsmouth v Sandown & Shanklin.
Counties 3: Isle of Wight v Aldershot & Fleet; Ventnor v Overton.
Counties 4B: Millbrook II v Sandown & Shanklin II.
Counties 5 South: United Services Portsmouth II v Ventnor II.