New Milton Edged in Battle of Basingstoke
Basingstoke Colts 19-12 New Milton Colts
Basingstoke narrowly won a hard fought contest characterised by powerful runs and hard hitting tackles. Milton’s flamboyancy in the forwards was sorely tested yet still took a 12-0 lead with a dogged display.
New Milton took charge of the game early on with powerful drives leading to a determined charge to line for Eldridge to drive over from close range. Basingstoke roared back with determination, making several big runs. Superb tackling from Short, Pegg, Booth and McCurdy forced turnovers to stem Basingstoke’s momentum. Jackson-Smith kept the scrum contest even against a much bigger Basingstoke pack which gave Callow the opportunity to feed Eldridge at fly half who controlled the game well off the back foot.
Huntbach, Jones and Budge defended intelligently as a back 3. Huntbach showed clear thinking in running the ball away from the line beating two defenders only to be tackled into touch by the third - well judged running. Cooper was omnipresent as he always is Cornwell was a nuisance to the opposition with powerful runs of his own. Peters-Cheale maintained a physical presence throughout, running himself to a standstill.
The game was stop-start with numerous penalties awarded to both sides. New Milton were quickest to react from a penalty award in the second half and Baker charged the blind side to touch down in the corner. The conversion made it 12-0.
From then onwards with the wind in their faces and a continuous stream of powerful charges New Milton struggled to get out of their own half. The replacements came on to add fresh legs and continued to be competitive. Huge credit to Cullerton for a manful job at hooker and Holman won ball at the breakdown to ease the pressure on new Milton. Syms and Joint ran the ball with grit and determination but found no way through the Basingstoke defence. Woodhouse was immense throughout, at one point clearing out Basingstoke defenders from three rucks in succession. Adamczyk added physical presence to the breakdown and Hodges with his fresh legs nearly broke through Basingstoke’s defence except for a last ditch tackle.
Basingstoke made the most of the odd overlap or mismatch to score three tries of their own and secure a deserved and very hard fought win over a disappointed New Milton.