2s Start 2018 at a Canter
Field's 2nd XV hand Havant A their only loss so far this season with a comfortable win in the relocated Solent 2 fixture.
The recent damp weather impacted the opening rugby fixtures of 2018 with Field’s 1st XV match postponed due to flooding at New Milton and the 2nd XV relocated from Havant to Penns Place, the 3s match at Gosport & Fareham was unaffected.
With the Club flag flying at half-mast, the home fixture provided the Field players and support an earlier than expected opportunity to pay their respects to former Club Chairman and President, Cliff Fairley who passed away in the early hours of New Year’s Day – both teams and their supporters held a minute’s silence before kick-off.
From their kick off, Petersfield established home in Havant territory where they stayed for the bulk of the game, barring a few occasions in both halves.
Within three minutes, Field had opened their account through wing, Eddie Mathews, the ball passed simply through the hands from a scrum. The difficult kick from wide on the left was missed by Nick Blumlein but the young stand-off made up for it just five-minutes later with the conversion of yet another Mathews try. This time the winger was first to a ball chipped into the try zone by Blumlein, taking advantage of a quick penalty to flat-foot the Havant defence.
At 12-0 up within the first 10-minutes and seemingly no attacking threat from the opposition, Field appeared to abandon some of their structure and a few rash decisions crept into their play as they attempted to rush the next scores. With possession coughed up through poor passing, handling and one-up runners taking quick penalties, Field continually let the league leaders off the hook, rather than grind them down.
It wasn’t until the final minute of the half that Mathews racked up his hat-trick, once again pouncing on a kick through by Blumlein, who knocked over the conversion. The move began with yet another penalty, as Havant were reduced to 14 following a cynical late hit on the outstanding standoff.
Field made the most of their man advantage within the first minute of Havant’s restart. It was the Blumlein / Mathews axis once more as the former chipped a delicate cross-field kick for the later to chase. Four minutes later it was déjà vu but this time as Blumlein kicked in to the wide-open space on the opposite wing for Rory Munro to collect and cross. Blumlein was unable to add to the tries with either conversion.
Match won, Field had to work hard to maintain their concentration and stifle the visitors when they had possession. However, as Havant regained their fifteenth man, Field lost one – a ‘team’ card for persistent slowing of the ball at the breakdown.
Havant finally made their limited time in Field’s half pay with a few forward drives from a tap and go penalty – not trusting their scrum to provide a stable enough base for their attack.
Having been evenly matched in the first half, Field’s scrum returned to ‘business as usual’ in the second, with the pack driving their opposite numbers off their own ball at times. Field Inaccuracies and the visitor’s desperate defence prevented the home side from scoring again and the game ended at 29-7, Havant kicking dead from a penalty prolong the game with an unlikely attempt at the Field line from deep inside their own 22.
Development Coach, Steve Woolcombe declared himself delighted with the commitment from everyone on what was a heavy pitch, “Haslett played outstandingly at 9, keeping energy and movement in our phase play and Orr was solid at 8 carrying well and putting in massive hits when we most needed it. Our joint men-of-the-match were Blumlein and flanker Ryan Morse – Nick for his great awareness and kicking accuracy and Ryan for his tenacious play showing boundless energy in multiple carries, tackles and turn overs.
Weather permitting, all three of Field’s senior teams will be at home next Saturday and Coach Woolcombe will hope that his side can improve on their performance to beat third-placed Millbrook.