ISLE of Wight RFC's promotion aspirations were dashed by top-of-the-table Fareham Heathens during a hard fought match at Wootton Rec on Saturday.


The encounter between the two top-flight teams was influenced by heavy underfoot conditions and a slippery ball, folowing yet another week of rain.

IWRFC, playing with the wind, capitalised on their early advantage — applying pressure on the opposition, which resulted in George Huish winning a penalty inside the opening 15 minutes.

However, the home team failed to fully exploit the advantages they had in the conditions, as the Heathens progressed and took the lead with a converted try minutes before the half-time whistle.

The second half remained uneventful until, just after the hour mark, the Heathens began to dominate in the scrum — pushing back IWRFC.

Fareham then extended their lead to seven with a penalty, before capitalising on a loose ball near the Island line for a decisive score.

The Islanders, now under pressure, were unable to turn the tide, despite trying to run the ball from deep against the wind against their energised opponents.

The league leaders scored another try to secure victory, but not before an improved late fightback from IWRFC — thanks to the tenacity of Sam McQueen and captain, Luke Blackman — gave their spectators something to cheer about

Their efforts were rewarded when Finley Lockhart found Huish, who successfully crossed the line for Isle of Wight's only score.

The Rangers will play bottom side Alresford in a rescheduled match on Saturday.

IWRFC: Ward, Rolfe, Huish, McQueen, Browne, Young, Lockhart, Puzey, Butler, Newnham, Martin, Blackburn, Brown, Bennett, Blackman, Jones-Evans, Wallace.