Sandown & Shanklin 15 Petersfield 27: PETERSFIELD’S first team travelled to the Isle of Wight on Saturday to face the undefeated Sandown and Shanklin, the team sitting one place above them at kick-off.
Field’s impressive start to the season had somewhat faltered over their past two matches with a narrow loss against league leaders Alton followed by a hard-fought draw against Havant’s second team.
The visitors chose to play up the hill in the first half in the very difficult conditions, with areas of standing water on the pitch and a wet match ball.
Sandown started brightly, powering down the slope to open their account after just two minutes, scoring in the corner from a forwards drive but failing to add the extras.
Field’s tough day had very quickly become even tougher but cool heads prevailed and the side patiently played their way into the game.
The away team gained territory until centre Greg Jansen was set free to power through the midfield for Field’s opening try. For once, Nick Blumlein’s trusty boot let him down and he missed the chance to take his team into the lead.
It took until the dying minutes of the first half for Field to go ahead. Despite having the lion’s share of possession, Field could not breach the Sandown and Shanklin line.
Finally, however, Field captain Matt Momber became the key to unlock the home defence. The young Momber, playing his first first-team game of the season after a serious pre-season injury, crowned several minutes of pressure on the Sandown line with a powerful drive.
Blumlein’s radar let him down again but he quickly had another chance to break his duck as flanker Sam Carroll cut a swathe through the Sandown defence to dot down for Field’s third try. Blumlein added the extras to give the visitors a 17-5 lead at the break.
Field, playing with the slope and with improving conditions, extended their lead some three minutes into the second half as Blumlein knocked over a penalty to make the score 20-5.
Petersfield’s Jordan Hunter then received a yellow card for dangerous play when contesting a high ball after the Sandown and Shanklin player had come off worst.
Sandown reduced the deficit to 20-10 with a try at the end of the third quarter and continued to push for more.
Field’s stoic defence began to frustrate the home side and the game became feistier, the bad-tempered period resulting in Petersfield hooker Nic Wilde being taken off following what looked to be a cheap shot from behind.
The visitors kept their heads and took their chance when they could, Jordan Allan powering over halfway through the final quarter to score the bonus-point try. Blumlein added the extras.
As Field had in the first half, Sandown scored at the end of the second, but they could not console themselves with a losing bonus point thanks to their profligacy with the boot.
Field, meanwhile, had not only won what looked on paper to be a tricky fixture but had claimed the four-try bonus point and denied their hosts anything from the match.
Petersfield entertain eighth-placed Ellingham and Ringwood at Penns Place on Saturday, with kick-off at 3pm. The New Forest side have lost all five of their away matches so far this season.
The match will be preceded by one of Petersfield’s lunches. This weekend it is the Tribute Lunch, where the club honours the club men and women who are no longer around.