Match Report by Paul Greenwood
The Pumas were definitely up for their Hampshire Cup Plate Quarter Final match versus Sandown and Shanklin. With a few guys (Harry Graham, Thomas Atkinson and Chris Botterill) making their 1XV debut the squad felt strong enough to tackle this Hants 1 placed team.
But after some good preparation the opening 7 mins proved to be far too intensive for the Pumas who conceded a try early on and the Puma scrum was beginning to show signs of a struggle.
But the Pumas got into the match and for a good period of play pinned the home side back into their twenty-two. No 10 Nick Destefano kicking well for the corners saw some space and kicked through for Robson Kashora to touchdown only for the try to be disallowed for offside. Despite the setback the Pumas continued to apply a lot of pressure but could not open their account.
However, with 20 mins played Sandown got themselves re-organised and broke out of their half and through several phases managed to score another converted try completely against the run of play. 14 – 0. But this strong running was shown again when the Sandown backs completely opened up the Puma line scoring another 2 tries in quick succession, one of which was converted. 26 – 0 and things looking bleak for the Pumas.
But with 2 mins to go before half-time the Pumas continued to show heart and pushed for the Sandown try line. From a resulting lineout the maul was driven over by James Campbell to score and go into half-time trailing 26 - 5.
The score just before the end of the half rallied the Pumas who were much more competitive in the opening 15 mins of the half. In one move Centre Lee Giles makes a break and scoops the ball back to his Centre partner Robson Kashora who manages to drive over the line with Nick Destefano adding the conversion.
Unfortunately the Pumas could capitalise further and from a scrum 5m out the home side tried but could not push the now fully functioning Puma pack over but released their fly-half who missed a tackle to score another converted try. On 70 min Sandown scored again to bring the score to 38-12 but then were reduced to 14 men following a yellow card for high tackle.
With time to still get something from the match the Puma scrum worked well and pushed the home side with Tom O’Grady scoring. The Pumas continued to force Sandown into making mistakes and the last few mins of the match really started to make the ball move showing good speed and decision making. Skipper for the day James Campbell finished off a well worked move to score his second try of the day.
But Sandown had the last word scoring again to bring the FT score to 43-22
From the match the Pumas can take heart that they played an inform Hants 1 side and did not look out of place. The Pumas dominated for many periods of the match but a few missed tackles at crucial moments and good defence from the home sides backs just kept the Pumas unable to score.
So now we turn our focus back to the league and the push to maintain our spot at the top of Hants 2