Petersfield go top of the league after emphatic win

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Wednesday 25th December 2019 10:00 am
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Action from Petersfield’s 87-3 win against Farnborough ()

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PETERSFIELD will end the decade at the top of the Hampshire Premier table courtesy of an easy win against Farnborough and postponements elsewhere.

It was all about the numbers as Petersfield’s first team played their last league match of 2019 against Farnborough on Saturday.

Plucky Farnborough arrived at Penns Place with just 14 players, which was reduced through injury to 12 in the second half, and scored one penalty against the 13 tries and 11 conversions scored by their hosts – which would have been more if the second half hadn’t been inexplicably called to a halt ten minutes early.

Across the teams’ two fixtures in the 2019-20 season the tally is 144 to Petersfield and ten to Farnborough, with Petersfield having thumped Farnborough in their own back yard 57-7 at the start of the season.

Field now have a points-scored differential of 427 in the Hampshire Premier, which is more than 100 more than the league’s other free-scorers, Sandown and Shanklin, and Field remain the team with the most effective defence in the league.

Starting with a man advantage on the pitch, and another three on the substitutes bench, Field started their scoring on three minutes with an unconverted try.

The pattern of the first half quickly established itself as, from the restart, Farnborough were forced to defend waves of Field attack, which they did with an admirable but energy sapping effectiveness.

For their part, Field were working out how to play against the 14 men and were often found guilty of calling for or attempting the miracle ball, rather than working through the phases.

Field scored twice more in quick succession, both converted, and it looked like the home side would have their four try bonus point before the end of the first quarter.

However, the desire to keep the ball alive at any cost resulted in a penalty to the visitors that put them in Field’s 22 for the first time.

Unfortunately for Farnborough they butchered the lineout, but they were awarded a penalty for an offside as they flung it down the line.

Rather than repeat the lineout the visitors decided to break their duck with a kick from right in front of the posts.

Normal service was finally resumed for Field on the half-hour mark with another converted try, followed by a fifth at the end of the half.

The break came following a lengthy injury stoppage which saw Farnborough lose another player and left the visitors with little hope of clawing back the 30-point deficit.

Unsurprisingly, the traffic was all one way in the second half, with Field scoring a try every four minutes on average for the 30 minutes or so of the puzzlingly-truncated half.

With only one of the eight conversions missed, Field were comfortable winners at 87-3. With closest rivals Alton having to postpone their home match, the result put Field back on top of the table.

Field will face 2020 without four of their standout young players of the season; Tom Land, Nic Wilde, Will Mathews and Ethan Ogilvie are all going travelling.

Next up for the senior section is the traditional Boxing Day fixture where a Petersfield Rugby Football Club President’s XV will take on the ‘Exiles’, former players and those away for studies or work.

Kick-off is at 12pm and the clubhouse will be open for refreshments.

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