Fareham Heathens return to winning ways
Mike Blow Memorial Game-Heathens retain the Shield
Fareham Heathens 1st XV hosted IOW RFC in their Snows Group Hants 1 fixture at Cams Alders.
The game also doubled as the Mike Blow Memorial Game, with both teams competing for the Mike Blow Memorial Shield for the second time.
The game was played in tough underfoot conditions as the pitch remained very soft following the recent adverse weather conditions.
Both teams came committed to play expansive and attractive Rugby and it was Heathens who took the early initiative. Following some strong and committed phase play, Heathens spread the ball wide right just inside the IOW half and right wing, Steve Devoy, collected the ball in a little space and managed to out pace the scrambling IOW defence and power over into the corner. Guthrie's kick just came up short.
Heathens continued to apply great pressure, especially within the Heathens pack. A 5m attacking scrum resulted in Heathens pushing the visitors pack across there own line and Number 8 Harry King was first to touch the ball down, making it 10-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Guthrie's kick came up short one again.
The IOW team tried hard to apply pressure, but resolute defence from Heathens kept them at bay. Heathens continued to apply pressure and Hooker, Charles Chipperfield, powered over for Heathens third try and Guthrie added the extras making it 17-0 at Half Time.
The playing surface was becoming ever more difficult to play on. The second half continued like the first but it was the IOW who opened their account on 11 minutes. A speculative hack through from a Heathens knock on saw the IOW 12 power through the middle to follow up on his own kick and IOW managed to touch down to reduce the deficit to 10 points (17-7)
Heathens continued to apply pressure on the IOW line with several attacks, looking for the 4th BP try. Each time however, an unforced error resulted in the IOW managing to clear their lines and work back up the field, where Heathens had to start all over again.
In truth IOW were probably unlucky not to have gone away with a bonus point but it was a credit to the Heathens defence for keeping the visitors out time after time.
No.7 James Whitfield put in a MOTM performance but credit goes to the whole team for what was, given the conditions, one of the best team performances this season.
After the match Club President said a few words about Mike Blow and the legacy he has left at the Club. The Club Bar has been named the Mike Blow Bar, in honour of Mike, and the Club Room is now called the Gerry Neighbour Club Room in honour of another of of founder members.
The Mike Blow Memorial Shield was presented to 1st XV Captain, Rob Impey, by Julie Blow, Mike's Widow who was also accompanied to the Club by her daughter Libby, who was visiting from Singapore.
Next week sees Heathens 1st & 2nd XV travel to Arlesford for the rearranged League fixtures postponed by the bad weather.