PETERSFIELD continued their winning run with victory against Sandown and Shanklin on Saturday in this Hampshire Premier and Hampshire Vase double header, although their first half performance failed to reach their usual standards.
Despite Field’s early dominance it was the visitors who scored first – a breakaway from their own 22 leading to a rare visit into their hosts’ half which, courtesy of some weak tackling by the scrambling defence, led to them crossing the whitewash on ten minutes.
For the rest of the half, Field struggled to get their mojo back as they battled the wind – which appeared to have been in their favour – and a ponderous delivery that, married with Sandown and Shanklin’s committed line speed, saw attacks halted before they had the chance to do any damage.
It took until the end of the half for Field to hook up an effective move. When the backs took the ball to the line the delivery had the desired effect and put Jordan Allan through for Field’s first try. In the trying conditions the usually reliable Nick Blumlein missed the extras and the two sides went into the break level at 5-5.
Field came out of the blocks in the second half with a drive and sense of purpose that had been missing in the first.
What followed was almost a training exercise of attack versus defence as Field dominated territory – in spite of the wind against them – and enjoyed the lion’s share of possession in the second half.
It appeared having the wind against them made the home side keep the ball in hand, spreading it wide to stretch the Sandown defence. This tactic quickly reaped its reward as, with three minutes gone, right winger Elliot Carrington was put in in the corner to score.
The home side extended their lead when Allan ignored the overlap on the right and chipped into the space behind the onrushing defence for Will Mathews to chase and ground as the ball crossed the line.
As they did all game, Sandown and Shanklin continued to defend stoutly but could not seem to find a way out of their own half, in spite of the wind at their backs, although they prevented Field from adding more points until the final ten minutes of the game.
Greg Jansen crashed over from a few metres out following a powerful attacking five-metre scrum. Blumlein, with the only successful kick of the match, added the extras.
This bonus-point winning score was added to five minutes later when Zak Jenkins drove over following a series of phases set up by the pack.
The scoring was not finished though, and, with the clock in the red, Sandown and Shanklin exploited a switched-off Field defence to run the length of the pitch for a consolation try, which was unconverted.
The result puts Field into the final of the Hampshire Vase competition on April 25, where they will meet Fordingbridge or Millbrook or Basingstoke, and puts them 12 points clear of Alton in the Hampshire Premiership, who have a game in hand.
Specialist coach Jim Pearce said after the game: “We knew that with it being a league and cup double that Sandown and Shanklin would come with a strong squad and so it proved.
“From the off they showed themselves worthy of their fourth place in the league and the fact that they haven’t won away from home since October meant nothing. They defended well, carried hard and made life very tough.
“We started the second half with more structure and worked patiently through the phases, grinding Sandown and Shanklin down and resulting in the bonus-point win.”