New Milton 19 Trojans Chiefs 15
The Chiefs spurned a great opportunity to get a win over the Hampshire Champions who put out a weakened side with only 15 players available. Whilst Trojans proved that they were the better team, they also showed their naivity at this level and it cost them the game.
The Chiefs got off to an excellent start, scoring the opening try after only 3 minutes. From a scrum, Josh went blind side and fed Christian who powered through the New Milton defence to score. The boys got over excited in their celebrations and were rightly warned by the referee. We reminded them that the game was not won yet and that they needed to focus on their game. Unfortunately they were a little too casual and were caught napping by a quickly taken tap penalty, allowing their best player to run straight through them unopposed and score. It was a wake up call, but the boys continued to be slow to react to the quick thinking New Milton attack. They passed the ball quickly through the hands and released their winger who comfortably ran in a try from half way. Worse was to come when New Milton were awarded a penalty 5m from the Chiefs' line. Instead of facing up and retreating together, they failed to learn from their earlier mistake and were once more punished for turning their backs and ignoring the threat. Trojans were now 19-5 down. Instead of building on their opening try, they switched off and let New Milton take control of the game. Matt missed a penalty kick, but as half time approached the boys started to play much better. The defence was improving and the forwards were reinforcing their dominance in the scrum.
In the second half the boys atoned for their earlier mistakes and were easily the better team, something the New Milton players acknowledged after the game. Rodrigo took a high ball and raced into the New Milton half but was tackled into touch. They took a quick line-out thrown and put Trojans back under pressure. Good kicking from Matt put the boys back in the New Milton 22. From the line-out Ed carried well, then Ash and when the ball was re-cycled the ball went out to the backs and Christian scored his and Trojans' second try. The score was now a more respectable 10-19 and the Chiefs were gaining momentum. Christian made another penetrating run. Rodrigo was nearly in again and Josh also went close to scoring. The ball continued to be re-cycled and the pressure was telling as Joseph crossed to make the score 15-19. Captain Fin H. then led the way with a powerful run, but was stopped illegally by a tip tackle. Ed made a good driving run and Matt became more influential in attack. New Milton knew they had a game on their hands and continued to be a threat, but good counter attacking saw Josh kick long and Euan field the ball on the wing. He tried to kick through to the try line but sliced his kick into touch. Then Joe had the opportunity to put Trojans in the lead but lost the ball right under the posts. The winning try was elusive and unfortunately time eventually ran out.
This is a game they should have won and they have to learn the lessons from the mistakes which cost them in the first half. It is not just about effort and skill they need playing the best teams, they also need the collective awareness and speed of thought to react to any threat. On the positive side, they outplayed the best team in Hampshire and but for the missed kicks for goal and opportunities not taken, the result would have reflected that. It was good to see new boys Taylor and Alex getting in the action. It was also encouraging to see Ben settle in at full-back after a difficult first half. Christian was man of the match. As another positive footnote, the losing bonus point keeps us above New Milton on the league table.