RUGBYRyde 14, Basingstoke Griffins 3
AFTER a four-week weather-enforced winter break, Ryde sometimes showed signs of rustiness.
The driving rain did little to encourage open, expansive rugby and whenever Ryde did do enough to break through a surprisingly stalwart Basing-stoke defence the final pass always went astray.
Due to this, the home side found themselves 3-0 down after half an hour when perhaps on another day they would have been 20 points ahead.
One of the many positives of this season has been the growth in belief within the club, however, and whereas the Ryde of old may have capitulated, this team was made of stronger stuff. A tap penalty from David True fed the returning Tom Ody, who in turn put the Wilks Lettings man of the match Danny Vyse in to score under the posts for a converted try.
Going into the wind and uphill in the second half, Ryde knew the game was still a long way from being won.
Manful defence and superb forward play was the order of the day, with Adam Moody and The Falcon man of the match Martin Kirwood-Slack leading from the front.
Ironically enough, in this dour, forwards-dominated game, it took a flash of inspiration from the backs to make the difference.
Vyse was again at the heart of it, with a beautifully weighted chip that cleared the onrushing Basingstoke defence, and True accepted the ball to score under the posts and give Ryde breathing space.
The final 15 minutes were a fiercely contested affair, with last-ditch tackles from both sides being made, but eventually Ryde held on to record a very hard-fought victory.