Prostate charity rugby match ends in nail biting draw
The Monkey House irregulars supported by local rugby club Lymington Mariners turned out Sunday at Woodside Park to contest the Robbie Robertson Trophy against New Milton RFC in aid of prostate cancer, raising £3,500 in the process.
Nominally a match for veterans, some distinctly fluffy ‘Movember’ moustaches suggested that the visitors’ backline may have had a pre-match drink from the fountain of youth.
The standard of rugby varied from semi pro hits and breaks to the rugby equivalent of dad dancing, but it was the Monkey House that got the first points on the board. Inside centre Jonathan Stanton displayed some fine distribution, or possibly just a disinclination to be caught with the ball, passing on to outside centre Steve Broomfield. He took on the New Milton drift defence, which drifted the wrong way, allowing him a forty-yard run to the line.
New Milton concentrated on an offloading game down the centre of the pitch, while the Monkey House kept swinging the ball out wide, trying to find space again on the left wing. Another break from Broomfield provided an opportunity. The outside centre was brought down by Jamie Fenton, but a late pass fell to sprightly winger Ian Smith (62), who turned on the after burner and made the try line.
12 points down, New Milton had some work to do and started to push the Monkey House back into their 22 led by the experienced Brendan Tracey. The pressure soon paid off and it was Tracey himself that burst through the Monkey House pack and back line to score under the posts. He then repeated the performance ten minutes later to give New Milton a two point lead going into the break.
The second half see-sawed back and forth with fairly even possession, New Milton’s attacking pack being held up by Mariner stalwarts, Stuart Harvey, Phil Jenner and Pete Rolfe, not to mention some aggressive fringe tackling by Monkey House owner and event organiser Iain Robertson at number 9. But it was the Monkey House that had the first real opportunity to score with a certain try foiled by a freak gust of wind that took the final pass from Paul (on the) Sherry three feet forward.
New Milton returned to the fray with a run from fly-half Dalton Thomas, setting up another runner who offloaded to Fenton who touched down under the posts. With minutes to go, the Monkey House rallied their troops for one final push, which resulted in a try scored by legendary mariner Trevor Ignatius Maul. Breathless stuff. (Breaking news - final try claimed by Farard Darver).
Two points short, everything now hung on Robertson’s conversion. Robertson posed, gathered himself, posed some more and then missed. But New Milton had rushed early and Robertson was awarded a second bite of the cherry. This he gave a colossal thump and the ball soared inches over the cross bar. The Robbie Robertson trophy had resulted in a 19:19 draw.
Commenting on the game, Monkey House forward and Mariner Ben Bradley-Watson said: “it was played in great spirit and I really do know where my prostate is now.”
Movember moustaches were later shorn off by local hairdressers Jason Jones at the Monkey House on Southampton Road, Lymington. Prizes donated by local businesses, the Haven, Stanwell House Hotel, Jason Jones, the Monkey House and Carey’s Manor, amongst others, were auctioned and raffled.