Stags Saturday 7th Jan
Hampshire Senior Merit League
Newbury Stags 44 v 31 Tottonians 2nds
A mixed young and old Stags side kicked off and immediately win a scrum as Tottonians knock on, from the scrum Newbury put pressure on the Tottonians defence but are unable to put points on the board, eventually knocking on allowing Tottonians to win the scrum and kick out of defence. From this kick Newbury run the ball back at Tottonians and after several phases of attacking play Newbury win a penalty which D. Jones slots over 3-0 (8 mins). Tottonians re-gather the ball from the kick off and attack the Newbury defence but spill the ball allowing T.Martin to kick and chase back to the Tottonians 22 but give away a penalty allowing Tottonians to kick to safety. Newbury steal the ball and set their backs off in a sweeping attack but unfortunately knocking on a couple of meters short of the line allowing Tottonians to take the scrum and kick to safety. Newbury win the line out and pass the ball through the backs allowing
T. Martin to round the defence to score 8-0 (12mins). Newbury attack from the kick off and after several phases of forward play D. Jones puts a kick into Tottonians 22 the chasing Newbury players put enough pressure on the Tottonians defence to steal the ball allowing S. Denner to break through the defence and make the final fifteen meters to score under the posts D. Jones converting 15-0 (16 mins). Newbury lose the ball from the kick off but manage to steal it back when M. Spencer intercepted a Tottonian pass making good yards before popping the ball to J. Walsh to go over wide out on the right hand side 20-0 (20 mins)
Tottonians seemed to be stung into action after this score and put the Newbury defence under a sustained period of pressure eventually passing the ball through their backs to score wide out on the left 20-5 (25 mins).
After several mistakes from both sides and possession changing hands Tottonians keep the ball and make the break through to score and convert 20-12 (30 mins). Newbury had allowed Tottonians back into the game and things got worse as Tottonians kept up the pressure on the Newbury defence eventually breaking through several Newbury tackles to score and convert 20-19 (37 mins).. This seemed to wake up Newbury and straight from kick off they managed to force Tottonians to knock on allowing the forwards to win the scrum and after several good runs from the backs the forwards took over and good yards are made by R. Moore. E. Thomas and C. Hawkins before allowing B. Trott to crash through the last tackles to score wide out on the right, 25-19 (half time).
W. Smith coming on for S. Paice the only half time change.
Tottonians kick off the second half and put Newbury under pressure but a great clearing kick from T. Flynn takes play back into the Tottonians half, Tottonians win the line out and attack through their backs but lose the ball allowing S. Denner to make good yards before kicking ahead, the chasing M. Spencer carries on with another grubber kick but is taken out by a late tackle the ref allows play to continue as T Birch wins the race to touch the ball down under the posts, D. Jones converting, 32-19 (45 mins) For the next few minutes both sides attack, W. Smith at scrum half spreading the passes out to the backs but both sides either knock on or lose the ball, some great tackles from the Newbury forwards especially J. Walsh and J. Bull stops the Tottonians attacks then a good run from T. Martin gets Newbury into Tottonians 22 but an unlucky offside from a cross field kick means no try and a penalty to Tottonians. Both E. Thomas and B. Trott have to come off injured so S. Paice has to return to the field and Newbury are down to 14. Matters get even worse when a few minutes later T. Birch injures his shoulder and has to come off, luckily G. Caskey comes over from the A’s so Newbury remain at 14. Tottonians seize this opportunity of a man advantage and spend several minutes camped in Newbury’s 22 before eventually scoring and converting 32-26 (62 mins). Tottonians keep up the pressure on Newbury but a great interception and 50yd run from M. Paice means Newbury get the score and a 13 point difference again 39-26 (69 mins). J. Crawford comes on from the A’s to get Newbury back to 15. Tottonians don’t give up and after several phases get the ball out through their backs to go over wide out luckily the conversion goes just wide 39-31 (76 mins). After a couple of minutes of midfield play Newbury get the ball and launch one final attack but a forward pass in Tottonians 22 mean Tottonians get a scrum, from this scrum the Tottonians clearing kick does not find touch instead it drops into J. Futchers hands who runs 30 yds through the despairing Tottonians defence to score wide out on the left, the narrowly missed conversion brings the final whistle 44-31.
Man of the Match was given to Jack WALSH for his solid tackling
B. Trott, T. Flynn, R. Moore, C. Hawkins, J. Bull, T. Birch, E. Thomas,
J. Walsh, S. Paice, D. Jones, M. Paice, M. Spencer, S. Denner,
T. Martin, J. Futcher, W. Smith. (G. Caskey, J. Crawford)