In Hampshire Counties Two, Sandown & Shanklin Hurricanes secured a resounding 102-0 home victory, scoring 16 tries against Chichester 2nd XV, with commanding performances from scrum-half, Tom Marriott, and skipper, Sam Rees.
With solid performances from full-back, Ash Smith, Ben Shannon, Jack and Luke Wedderkopp, Damian Seder and George Finan, the Sandown & Shanklin side maintained momentum throughout the match in front of a cheering home crowd. They capitalised on defensive errors to secure an emphatic win, to see their lead at the top of the division extend to 9 points over Basingstoke and 15 over 3rd-placed Guernsey.
In Counties Three, Isle of Wight’s successful season got back on track with a 24-16 away win at Christchurch. The Island centre pairing of Sam McQueen and Harri Jones-Evans was more than equal to the challenge posed by the home side. Brad Martin scored first for the Islanders, with Luke Blackman adding a second, with George Huish converting for a 12-6 Island lead at the break.
Mistakes from both sides created a stop-and-start second half. With scrummaging an Island strength, Huish broke free from inside the opposition half to score, and, with conversion, extend the lead to 19-6. Christchurch held-up attempts from Jones-Evans, Blackman, McQueen and Cam Browne, and scored themselves, before Aidan Martin bundled over from close range in the last play of the game to take the points for the Islanders.
Also in Counties Three, there was another disappointing journey for Ventnor, losing 51-0 away at Fareham Heathens. A rearranged side showed Joe Coghlan, at scrum-half, with his usual backrow partner, Guy Entwistle, at fly-half. The ageless Dean Magnurson was on the flank, with player-of-the-match, Will Broomfield, slotting into the No 8 position. Will Harrison, George Collett and skipper, Ben Savill, warmed to their work against a powerful Fareham side.
As ever, Ed Blake never gave up trying to run the ball from all corners. Both Layton Greatorex and Fred Fairman had their moments, with Andy Teague and Jason Coltham immense in defence. The Islanders failed to make serious inroads but will take a lot of heart from a performance where they battled to the final whistle.
In Counties Four, the Hurricanes 2nd XV recorded nine tries in their 57-10 home win over Chichester III. Michael Cooper scored a typical try under the posts, and the Island side dominated line-outs to secure solid field positions, enabling scrum, Liam Little, to direct play and create opportunities.
With the 6 Nations Tournament well underway, there is a break this weekend.