Match report by Paul Greenwood
On a day that saw both the 1XV and 2XV side by side the buzz around the venue was great. But the Pumas knew that a win was the only result that was required to stop their run of bad form and get the season back on track.
However after 6 mins the visitors Aldershot and Fleet opened the scoring following a lineout and drive which was converted. The heavens then pened and the rain set in for the afternoon. Pumas started to make better headway and carry the ball better than the visitors. The intent was clearly to be seen when persistent penalties saw the Pumas kick for touch rather than take the points offered. Form this lineout stalwart Julian Beard opened the scoring through a try.
From the restart the Pumas again looked to pin Aldershot back in the twenty-two but this time Robbie Connel converted the penalty to give the Pumas the lead 8-7. mid way through the half the game was gettign scrappy as both sides had to continually re-adjust to the conditions. As Aldershot started to pick up their attacking play the Pumas defence coped well. This encouraged the forwards to really push on and a try was awarded to the Pumas only to be dissallowed after the consultation with the Pumas touch judge. However from the resulting defensive scrum the Pumas took a heel against the head and pushed Aldershot over for a great show of power and control. Jonathan Elsmore got a try with Robbie Connell converting. This brought the half-time score to 15-7.
Aldershot started the second half strongly and started to retain the ball better and were again encouraged through a score which they converted to make the game tight at 15-14. But this was the last time the visitors rallyed. From the restart James Campbell collected the ball and ran 60m to feed Lee Giles who linked up with Sam Floyd to score.
Confidence started to show in the side as the Pumas began to chase a bonus point. The Puma defence held up well and on one occaision Robbie Connell cleared his line at full back to kick the ball 70m down field to find touch. The Pumas won the lineout and forced a penalty in the centers and Robbie Connell finished off a passage of play he started with a converted kick.
The Puma pack continued to dominate and on a scrum close to the line No 8 Jonathan Elsmore (JJ) didnt quite make it but the Pumas recycled the ball to pass out wide to center Lee Giles to score. JJ was also doing some great work in the lineout stealing many a ball much to the frustration of the visitors.
To add to their frustration Julian Beard spun through some tackles following a lineout late on in the game to score his second try. Robbie Connell converted. In the final phase of play James Campbell made another great run to take the ball up to the try lineand score a fantastic individual try
The Pumas thouroughly deserved their win. The rain was tough for both sides but the Pumas made better use of tactical kicking pinning the visitors back for long periods of the game plus carrying the ball better in the conditions.