Action from Petersfield’s 87-3 win against Farnborough on December 21
PETERSFIELD’S first team secured another valuable five-point win on the road in their first Hampshire Premier Division match of 2020.
When Field hosted Eastleigh’s second team back in September the result was never in doubt as the visitors arrived with a depleted squad which dwindled further through injury until only 12 players remained on the pitch.
Field travelled on Saturday knowing they were unlikely to repeat the 124-0 win of their first meeting and so it proved as the heavy going on a very muddy pitch suited the home side more than the visitors and the hosts were able to put out a true second team squad, supported by a handful of first team players.
Eastleigh had the best of the opening engagements and possession with good structure and phase building putting early pressure on Field’s defence. With Matt Momber and Oli Bowles to the fore the visitors held out and, eventually, the hosts conceded control of the ball allowing Nick Blumlein to kick clear, supported by a trademark run from outside centre Jordan Hunter, to take play into the Eastleigh 22 for the first time.
The sides were evenly matched until a high tackle in the Eastleigh 22 gifted Blumlein a shot at goal which he slotted to open Field’s account.
The score seemed to galvanise the visitors and a break by Al Sheldon on the wing, supported by the forwards punching the ball up through quick phases, put Field on the front foot deep into Eastleigh territory and sucked in the defence. Greg Jansen broke up the middle and his offload to the supporting Tom Whitehouse allowed the big number eight to canter in from the 22 for the first try. Blumlein converted to put Field 10-0 up.
Field attacked again following the restart with two quick phases followed by a scintillating break by Hunter and then Sheldon, who carried the ball to the five-metre line. The resulting scrum was a pushover with Whitehouse at the back scoring for the second time. Blumlein could not secure the extras, so the teams went in at the break with Field 15-0 up.
The second half continued in much the same vein as the first with a good physical battle, with Field’s Ryan Morse and Jackson Clark relishing the contest. It was Morse who started the build-up to Field’s third try with a break on the left, and Andrew Wood went on a 30-metre run, beating four defenders on his way to touch down in the corner. The try was unconverted.
Eastleigh then piled on the pressure with 20 minutes of all-out attack, their constant driving and hard running requiring Field’s defence to work overtime to keep them out. Both the backs and the forwards put their bodies on line with Momber and Bowles leading from the front.
Eventually, though, the pressure told and Franko Tomic picked up a yellow card.
Eastleigh failed to make the advantage count, however, and a Morse turnover set Field on a breakout that ended with Blumlein crashing over for try number four. The conversion added, Field now had a comfortable 27-point lead.
Field’s fifth try came following a Samson Carroll charge down. Quick hands from Andy Barnes enabled Hunter to kick ahead and then the charging Whitehouse dribbled the ball into the in-goal area to touch down for his third try. Blumlein added the conversion to take the lead to 34-0.
The final word went to Eastleigh as they exploited an overlap on the left wing in the final minute to run in a consolation try in the corner, which was expertly converted.