New Milton 22 Petersfield 38: PETERSFIELD travelled south of the New Forest on Saturday to meet New Milton.
Field have had the better of the teams’ past four outings at home, but the away matches have always been a tight affair and often been a little heated. This time, however, the match was done and dusted by half time.
As they had against Bognor the week before, Field set out their stall early in the first half and looked to the powerful backline to punch holes in the New Milton defence.
The tactic paid off as inside centre Greg Jansen steamrollered his way to the line, dragging two defenders with him before reaching out to ground the ball on the line. Nick Blumlein added the extras.
Field’s next try came courtesy of forward power.
From a ruck on the New Milton line, Field chose to go to the heavily-defended short side rather than spin the ball wide to the right.
This time it was Nic Wilde who had the power to defeat the defence and score the try.
The home side scored the next try. A neat move at a penalty lineout in Field’s 22 saw the New Milton palm the ball off to a man running a line from the inside and around the front of the lineout. Taken by surprise, the Field defence was rooted to the spot as the attacker cantered over the line to score. The conversion was missed, but New Milton were finally on the scoreboard.
Minutes later fullback Tom Land seemed set to score Field’s third try, but he was denied by a terrific tackle that saw him lose the ball before he could ground it.
The referee then sent a New Milton player to the sin bin, and he was followed in quick succession by a second New Milton player who couldn’t contain his disappointment with the decision.
Field took immediate advantage of the disparity in numbers and the impressive Ryan Wilkie scampered from a ruck past the bemused defence to score by the posts. Blumlein again added the conversion.
As the half drew to a close, Land was set free in midfield and set off at top speed towards the line. Land made sure of his try, despite being tackled as he crossed under the posts. Land’s lung-busting effort brought up Field’s try bonus point, and effectively won the game for the visitors.
The conversion from in front of the posts was simple for Blumlein and Petersfield led 26-5 at the break.
New Milton drew first blood in the second half with two unconverted tries.
Field gave away a string of penalties, which made it impossible for them to break out of their half when in defence and, along with some handling errors, denied them possession when in attack.
Slow ball from the breakdown, allied with New Milton’s line speed, was hampering Field’s attacking intent.
When a pass to Will Matthews arrived at the same time as his defender, Matthews had the presence of mind to spin out of the tackle before bursting through for his side’s fifth try, which was unconverted.
Land was then on hand to benefit from a strong run by Tom Whitehouse, cruising in on the left wing before returning towards the posts to make the subsequent conversion easier for Blumlein.
With the clock in the red, Field were caught out as they pushed for their seventh try.
When Field lost control of the ball on the New Milton 22, they could not scramble quickly enough to prevent New Milton from returning the ball the length of the pitch for their own try bonus-point score. The conversion was excellently taken.