The Pumas stretched their unbeaten record to 9 matches and continue to move up the Hampshire 1 league table. Again, another great performance was on display from the whole squad who were up against a very strong and well drilled Fawley side. Having lost to Fawley with a below par performance earlier in the season this had all the hallmarks of being a great match and neither side disappointed.
Fawley opened the scoring after 7 mins as they continually applied pressure on the Pumas defence, carrying the ball well and looking to use their pace out wide in the backs. The Pumas defence held firm with strong tackling in the midfield, but one misjudged move saw the Pumas reach for a pass between the Fawley centres and intentionally knocked the ball on for a penalty which was converted. 0 - 3
From the re-start the Pumas started to put together a series of moves with forwards and backs linking up well. Fawley found themselves off their feet just outside the twenty-two and conceded a penalty. With a slight head breeze the Pumas elected to go for the corner but a misjudgement by full back Stuart Miller saw the ball fall short of the touchline but bounce back in field where Pumas flanker Olly Eggins, reacting the quickest, gathered and make the try line to score his first try this season. 5 - 3
Both sides continued to work hard up front and use their backs to probe the defence, but on 23 mins the Pumas opened up the Fawley defence out wide on the right through centres Sean Nuttall and Gus Flack. As Fawley tried to recover the ball came back across the line and left winger Robbie Connell powered through the defence to score a try which he then converted 12 - 3.
Fawley were very shocked and for the rest of the half the Pumas looked more likely to increase their score but with 5 mins to go before half time the Pumas were guilty of making a poor offload rather than taking the ball to ground. Fawley capitalised by gathering the ball and a series of good rucks saw them power over the line under the posts for a converted try to close the half at 12 - 10.
Both sides were working hard at the start of the second half and the intensity of the game rose as both teams looked to push on for the win. But in the 48 min the Pumas forwards really started to dominate both the scrum and at the breakdown. Frustration grew in Fawley as they gave away penalty after penalty 5m out from the Fawley try line. Despite being under the posts match day Captain Charlie Ford decided not to kick for goal but continually elected to re-scrum. At the 4th time of asking the Fawley forwards just could not hold back the drive allowing scrum-half Nick Destefano to score a converted try. 19 - 10.
The momentum was again with the Pumas, but silly mistakes again allowed Fawley to get more of the ball in the wrong part of the field. Their backs continued to hit the Puma line and a penalty was awarded 5m out for hands in the ruck. A quick tap saw the Fawley forward make the line before the Pumas could set themselves up and the visitors once again brought the score back to 19 - 15 with 18 mins still to play.
The pendulum swung again on 70 mins as the Pumas moved the ball out wide and secured a lineout just inside the Fawley twenty-two. A secure jump saw a passage of rucks and drives being made before lock Jamie McTaggart powered over the try line to score his first Puma 1XV try. 24 - 15.
With 10 mins to go there comes a time in matches that define them as despite being behind again it was Fawley that looked to finish stronger by cautiously throwing the ball around and use their backs as much as possible hoping to break the line. But the defence shown by the Pumas was fantastic. Time after time tackles flew in and despite getting close to the line Fawley just could not cross it. With the clock running down the Pumas finally conceded a try with the last play of the match making the final score 24 - 20.
It was a great match to watch and the players all agreed that is was a great match play in against a strong opposition. Fawley never gave up and pushed the Pumas hard all day. The Pumas unbeaten run now rises as does our league placing but Head Player/Coach Liam Moggeridge says "It was a hard fought match and I was pleased by our low penalty count as we never allowed Fawley to control the match other than in the last 10 mins when we defended superbly. We take every match game by game and we will see how we finish up at the end season, but this certainly was a match that could define it".