Match Report by George Winch
Alresford RFC v Locksheath Pumas RFC
Sat 20th September 2014
As the season kicks off for Locksheath Pumas in Hampshire 2 they travelled to Alresford who themselves have been looking to re-build their team.
From the kick-off it was Alresford who opened up strong with their forwards applying some good pressure pinning the Pumas pack back inside their twenty-two. But Pumas have worked hard at their defence during the summer months and soaked up a lot of pressure with good tackles coming from Matt Thurston and Alex Ainscough. But Locksheath slowly started to push the home side back up the park forcing them to attack more from deep and in one such rushed attack they pressurised the Alresford centres to drop the ball. From the pick up Centre Joel Stocker took the hit and set fly-half and debutant Ben Chambers away to outrun the defence and score his first try for the club, which he duly converted for 0-7 after 5 mins.
But again the pack rallied themselves and applied a lot of pressure moving down the slope and again Pumas nullified the threat and from one of their own scrums just inside their half they delivered the ball down the back line to another debutant winger Stuart Forbes who showed class and good pace to outrun his opposite number and score out wide for a 0 - 12 score line.
Pumas started to see more of the ball but their lineout was still not functioning well and Alresford kept keeping possession leading to sloppy play from Pumas allowing Alresford a few penalty shots at goal. One of which converted opening up their season.
Both teams then lost a player (Freddie again!!) to a yellow card for poor footwork and retaliation. Freddie you need to go on strictly!! But Pumas had some good play to close out the half with good hands from an improving back line saw Alresford giving away a penalty in front if the posts. Ben converted to close out the half 3 - 15. The only Pumas concern was the injury time loss of No8 Tom Palmer.
Starting the second half and playing down the slope Pumas hoped to have much better advantage with the ball and this proved to be the case with some good plays from the backs making good ground which stretched the home side and a good pick up and run by Joel set up a ruck but the Alresford No8 went offside and conceded a penalty. On this occasion Ben missed, but Pumas were running more confidently with Stuart again nearly beating his winger to fall short of the line.
This pressure put Pumas on the 5 yard line and from the resulting lineout the ball was spun along the line the to set up and come back for the ever loitering forward Harry Cripps to power over and score. Ben converted with 68 mins played.
Now chasing the bonus point the game reached the last 3 minutes and at the end of good pressure from the Pumas saw a quick tap penalty 5 yards out feeding again Joel to set up another ruck under the posts and with quick hands at the breakdown the ball was spun wide for Carl Darnley to score the try.
With too much daylight the game close with Pumas winning 3 - 27.
Liam Moggeridge started his first game as skipper and drove the team forward with a good performance built on solid defence. If the Pumas had allowed Alresford to break their line the story of the game could have been very different.