Overton RFC v Locksheath Pumas RFC
Sat 27th September
The Pumas travelled to Overton not really knowing what to expect with the home side having spent last season in the league above.
The start suggested the season at a higher level had stood Overton in good stead. They were strong out of the blocks and put the Pumas under pressure. Locks Heath defended well but inevitably the defence was finally breached and Overton went in for an early try that was converted to take a 7-0 lead. As it turned out, these were to be the only points that Overton scored during the afternoon but it wasn't through a lack of trying.
Pumas took control of the game and from a line out debut No8 Jon Barfoot took the ball on, it was recycled quickly and spread to the right wing who linked well with Full Back Matt Newton. The ball was popped well in the forwards and this split the defence and allowed Kent Streek to run in and touch down for the Pumas first try, the conversion was missed.
Soon to follow an Overton overthrow was gathered at the back of the line out by Pumas, Quick ruck ball allowed the ball to be sent back right where Pumas right wing, Charlie Hayes, was able to run in and run round to put the ball closer to the posts, the conversion was again missed tough, 7-10.
Overton then came back into the game and put a lot of pressure on the Pumas but the Pumas defence was up to the task and scrambled well to not left Overton score again. Following a missed penalty attempt by Overton, they carried on working their way to the Pumas 22. Good defence turned the ball over and after a few phases of play the ball was kicked through allowing Stuart Forbes to show his pace and touch down for his first of the afternoon. The conversion was again missed, 7-15.
The re-start was won by Overton and they again put together some phase play well into the Pumas half. Stretching the Pumas left, they came back right only for Stuart Forbes to intercept the ball and run 75 yards to score just to the left of the posts allowing Nick Destefano to kick his first conversion of the afternoon. More Overton pressure was soaked up with good defence and another turnover was kicked to touch to bring half time with the pumas 7-22 up.
The second half started with Locks Heath again taking the upper hand and pressuring the Overton side. A Pumas line out was untidy but fortunately they managed to secure the ball and set up a ruck on the Overton 10 meter line. Jon Barfoot picked up from the base of the ruck and ran up the blindside, evaded 2 or 3 tacklers and to score his first try for the Pumas. The conversion was kicked by Destefano, 7-29 to Pumas.
Pumas were again able to test the stout Overton defence. The phases were played and there was good interplay between the forwards and backs. Taking the ball to the left side of the field, the Pumas produced quick ball which allowed straight hands to go to the right with right wing Charlie Hayes drawing the last man to put Barfoot in for his second of the afternoon with the conversion being missed, Pumas were now leading 7-34.
A combination of Pumas taking their foot off the gas and Overton upping their game allowed Overton to have their best attacking time of the game. Play was in the Pumas half for a good 20 minutes with Overton trying all they could to breach the Pumas defence. The Pumas worked hard together and scrambled well, not allowing them to score during this attacking period. Good play from the Overton backs saw their left winger make a break from 40 yards out but he was brought down 10 yards short of the line. The Pumas again managed to turn the ball over and open side James Campbell found himself with 80 yards to run to the try line. He showed the pace he had as a winger and out-sprinted the Overton cover defence to score under the posts allowing Nick Destefano to convert and Pumas take the lead 7-41.
From the re-start, the ball was passed to the backs and full back Matt Newton took an inside ball to make a good break up the middle of the park. Good interplay with the forwards kept the ball alive and when a ruck was set up it was spun right where there was a 3 on 1 overlap allowing Stuart Forbes to complete his hat-trick for the afternoon. The conversion was again missed with Pumas 7-46 up.
In the last few minutes Overton came at the Pumas and played the game close to the Pumas line. A cover tackle in the act of scoring meant that Overton knocked on and close play then saw the game out and the referee blow the final whistle for a good win for the Pumas.
Coach Jim Pearce said - "It was a good performance by the team in both attack and defence. We started slowly and let them into the game but quickly re-grouped. Apart from the start and a 20 minute period in the second half we controlled the game well and even when they attacked us our defence was up to the test. We produced good ball and the interplay between forwards and backs was good. There are a few things still to work on but we can see what we are working on at training coming on to the park on a Sat. Everyone played well and it is pleasing that the boys are playing for each other. Freddie Hoare and James Campbell both had good games again. Jon Barfoot showed his experience in getting round the park. George Winch stepped up and put in a good performance at 9 and the centre partnership again worked well together in attack and defence. The back three got more ball in hand this week and were able to show what they are capable of going forward, Man of the Match Stuart Forbes leading the way with his hat-trick of tries."