When Brookfield school called the playing pitch unsuitable (which it wasn't by the way) at 10am on Saturday the team management went into overdrive. A pitch at Petersfield RFC was arranged and all the logistics re-organised to give 36 guys a game of rugby. This was a big task and a credit to the Puma Committee and team management to make this happen. Many clubs would have just postponed but we pride ourselves in making every saturday a match day for our club members.
But where were we...oh yes PROMOTION!!!
A top 3 finish will see the Pumas promoted into the new Hants 1 for the season ahead and with close rivals Southampton being beaten at Fawley promotion is assured. But the Pumas did not know that as they took to the field and their goal was to keep winning one match at a time!!
Despite the unfamiliar ground the Pumas started well with a break from Robbie Connell at full back setting up the Pumas deep in Nomads territory. From the scrum No9 Nick Destefano breaks to score the opening try with Robbie Connell converting. The Pumas continued to dominate inside the Nomads twenty-two for the opening 20 mins. From another solid scrum the ball was passed out through the hands and then brought back for James Campbell (JC) to score a lovely try out on the wing. 12 - 0.
The pressure continued and the Pumas continued to have a great scrum platform. No9 Nick Destefano found space to break and fed No8 Jonathon Elsmore with a pass behind his back. JJ fed onto JC who then linked up with the back line and fed Fly-half Lee Giles. With the try line insight Lee fed to returning skipper Joel Stocker who stepped one defender and ran over the full back to score. It was a well worked try with all guys running great lines to confuse the defence. 17 - 0
Robbie Connell then gets on the score sheet himself by taking a great high ball on the half way line. He then took off beating 3 defenders with a power run to score in the corner. 22 - 0. With the Pumas totally dominating the match with a solid front 8 performance and the Puma backs looking confident James Campbell then picks up his second try of the match by tracking his fellow flanker Sam Floyd who burst through the Nomads front line and offloaded to JC running through to secure the bonus point. Robbie Connell gets the conversion before half time.
HT - 29 - 0
With the bonus point secured in a blistering 1st half by the Pumas they took their eye of completely dominating the match and allowed Nomads to get some foothold on the game. The away side scored early in the second half and then added another soon after to bring the score to a worrying 29 - 12.
The Pumas now looked in freefall with the pack not winning any possession and again allowed Nomads to score to bring them within 10 points with still 10 mins to play 29 - 19. Lock Tom O'Grady was Yellow carded and this steadied the free fall the Pumas found themselves in. Playing with 14 the guys worked harder and made it difficult for Nomads to increase their score. The Pumas fought hard for the last few minutes typified by Man of the Match Sam Floyd and pushed Nomads towards their try line with good forward pressure that had been missing for most of the half. A penalty was awarded and to calm the nerves Robbie Connell makes the extras to bring the score to 32-19. From here the Pumas closed out the match.
The first half performance was electric with the Pumas riding high on good confidence but points difference could have been crucial had Southampton beating Fawley and once again the Pumas let the away side off the hook and not running in a big score. But we take the win and the bonus point and look forward to the next fixture versus Romsey with 2nd Place the prize!!