1st XV - Report
|Petersfield||33||vs||17||Isle Of Wight|
Petersfield RFC 1st XV (33) v Isle of Wight RFC (17)
After six weeks on the road, league action returned to Penns Place on Saturday with a solid bonus point win for the hosts.
The opening 3 minutes were best described as nerve wracking for Petersfield and their support, Field’s kick-off failed to go ten metres and, from the ensuing scrum, Isle of Wight moved the ball right for their strong centre to make several metres before Field offered an unsuccessful penalty attempt for a high tackle.
The next twenty minutes were dominated by Field’s backline who, when in possession, moved the ball with speed and accuracy and from flat positions gained much territory. The first try came from the clearance of a failed penalty with the ball moved through six pairs of hands for winger Andrew Smith to run round the Wight defence to score under the post. Jay Bremner added the extras.
Tom Franks was next to profit from some good work by Field’s forwards; notably the back row of Nicholls, Fletcher, and Palmer who were magnificent throughout the match in attack and defence. Franks, at pace, hung on to a pass and skinned the opposition defence to touch down under the posts making Bremner’s successful conversion more certain.
Wight were not downhearted by the fourteen point lead and in the scrum were often the equal if not superior to the hosts. Field’s front row of Butcher, Gargaro and Godber were forced to work very hard in the set pieces and in the loose against Wight’s extremely competitive unit.
The visitor’s failed to use their possession at set pieces to their advantage as they opted for the ball to stay with their physically impressive centres or their back row, ignoring the evidence of Field’s strong and committed defence in this area.
Field’s next try came from a period of pressure on the visitors try line. Wight’s defence holding firm across the pitch as Field recycled the ball several times only to find the final metres denied to them. Eventually the determined Field captain, gareth nicholls, measure his full height along the ground and with outstretched arms successful grounded the ball for a try in the left corner which was not improved.
This third try galvanised the visitors into a period of sustained attack Field’s defence gradually retreating to defend their five metre line. Desperate tackling and bullocking runs from defence saw scrums and tap penalties taken by Wight who after five minutes of sustained pressure found their second row Boulter with a physical mismatch of a Field winger in defence and took him, the ball and other players over the line. Despite Field’s gallant attempts to prevent the grounding of the ball referee Mr Hall, who was on the spot, awarded a try, the conversion was unsuccessful.
Stalemate ensued for several minutes and although Field had the upper hand with possession their attacking lines became less direct with Wight playing close to the offside line, in this phase of play at least two tackles from Wight on Field players were long after the ball had gone indeed one of them was so late it carried a December use by date!
Ian Palmer was to break the pattern when on the oppositions ten metre he cleared the ball from a ruck and with a mazy run stepping through or round three defenders crossed the line close to the posts for Bremner to improve.
At the half with a bonus point secured Field were pleased with their performance but wary of Isle of Wight’s reaction, meanwhile Wight were determined to stop the rot.
On the restart Field gained possession, rucked the ball back to scrum half James Martin who through Bremner at fly half made ground for flanker Don Fletcher to latch on to a pass and see an angled thirty metre run through the defence to touch down for Bremner to improve.
Wight were reduced to fourteen men after a further late tackle saw their fullback, White, yellow carded. As so often when teams are reduced in. number they up their work rate an Field were run around the park for the full ten minutes variously defending close in or having their attacks snuffed out in the centre of the park. During this time Wight’s most impressive player, fly half Brading, orchestrated some excellent phases of play.
As soon as White was restored the visitors determination was rewarded with a converted try under the posts. It was apparent that the exertions of the first half were telling on the fitness of some of Petersfield’s players especially those who had stepped up from the seconds and even the thirds to cover availability issues. It is to the teams credit that all who played including the two replacements used work well as a unit and supported well.
Field’s tackling became more desperate and their attacks less penetrating until with just seconds on the watch the visitors finally breached the defence to score an unconverted try in the corner.
Director of Rugby scott heffield said of the Petersfield performance that the backs played well as a unit and benefited from having been together for a few games. To reverse the fortunes in this return fixture had been satisfying but now Field must take their current run of good play away to New Milton next week. Fifth-placed New Milton have a similar recent record to Field, with four wins in their last five games and must be considered a target for a potential win.
Report by: Chris Todd