Petersfield kicked off their 2023-24 Hampshire Counties One campaign with a nine-try bonus-point 57-12 win against local rivals Portsmouth.
A hat-trick from Nic Wilde, plus tries from Tom Potter, Tom Land, Matt McLean, Nick Blumlein, George Davis and Alex Duffus – and a fine afternoon off the tee for Blumlein – fired Field to an emphatic win.
Portsmouth kicked off in front of almost 200 spectators at a sunny Penns Place.
Field took the lead when Wilde dotted the ball down from a powerful rolling maul. Blumlein added the conversion to make it 7-0.
Petersfield's next try came when Blumlein took a Portsmouth kick. The ball was deftly passed to winger Jordan Allan, who galloped up his wing to Portsmouth’s 22 to pass inside to the charging support of second row Potter – who dived over to score a try converted by Blumlein.
Portsmouth, through their hard-running pack, gave Petersfield plenty of defensive work on their 22, only to lose possession. Player-coach Liam Perkins broke through into Portsmouth’s half and some slick passing led to full-back Land scoring an unconverted try in the right corner.
A fumble by a Portsmouth player delayed a telegraphed long pass which player-coach McLean intercepted. McLean sprinted 40 metres to score under the posts. Blumlein added the conversion.
Duffus was yellow carded for offside at the breakdown with 14 minutes of the half left on the clock. Portsmouth used the player advantage to batter Petersfield’s five-metre line. Visiting fly-half Gareth Davies was unfortunate not to score on two occasions.
Petersfield’s backs ran from inside their own half and some superb offloading in the tackles gave Blumlein the final pass to score a try which he converted to make it 33-0.
From inside Field’s half Perkins burst through three Portsmouth tackles, and with two defenders hanging on to him he released the ball for it to eventually arrive at the right wing. With just a few metres to go the ball came back inside for winger Davis to dot down for an unconverted try.
Duffus completed his ten minutes in the sin bin and returned to the action. Perkins broke through and made hard metres with the ball in hand. He dummied an outside pass, switched and passed inside to the charging and refreshed Duffus who rolled over the line for a further unconverted try. Field led 43-0 at half-time.
Petersfield seemed to take their foot off the throat of Portsmouth in the second half, although the hosts weren’t helped by a yellow card for blindside flanker Rhys Bowen.
Petersfield held out for the first 20 minutes of the half without advancing their own score. Portsmouth then applied pressure on the left wing. All bar three players were in close support to a rolling maul – which resulted in an unconverted try to make it 43-5.
With 13 minutes left on the clock an attacking scrum 15 metres from Portsmouth’s try line gave Petersfield’s pack the chance to continue their domination in the set piece. Field drove the visitors back for hooker Wilde to claim his second converted try.
Wilde completed his hat-trick from a steal at a ruck – he galloped 20 metres down the wing to score near the corner. Blumlein added the extras.
Portsmouth’s determination and graft was rewarded in the last minute of the game, when a crossfield kick found the hands of second row Bryn Rainford – who scored a converted try to make it 57-12.