Hampshire Vase semi-final: Fordingbridge RFC 29-35 Basingstoke
IN an exciting and hard-fought game, Fordingbridge narrowly missed out on a place in the final of the Hampshire Vase cup, after losing to Basingstoke 35-29.
Seventh-placed Basingstoke, who are currently doing well in the London Three league, travelled to the Rec on a bright and surprisingly dry afternoon. The match kicked off in front of a large home crowd with high expectations of an exciting game.
The first half did not go as planned for the home side as, apart from a penalty from Mat Norton, Fordingbridge did not manage to get any points on the board. Basingstoke, on the other hand, ran in three unanswered tries.
Basingstoke’s style of rugby is one of direct forward play supported by a very large pack which dominated the scrums. Despite a great defensive effort, Fordingbridge could not prevent the rumbling style of play from scoring within their 22-metre line. As the first half finished, it was looking like a heavy loss was on the cards for the hosts.
However, at the start of the second half, Fordingbridge came out of the blocks at a sprint. Within five minutes, captain Mark Hammond battled through the defensive line to score under the posts, and Norton duly converted.
With the ball gathered cleanly from the kick-off, the Fordingbridge three-quarter line broke out of their 22 and with a dazzling display of sharp passing and support play, they added another five points when Joe Tooze touched down. The conversion took their score to 17, just four points short of the visitors.
The crowd went wild five minutes later when Charlie Boyns, returning from a long injury break, intercepted a pass on the Fordingbridge 10-metre line and sprinted down the line to score under the posts.
Norton converted and for the first time in the match, the home side took the lead at 24- 21.
Basingstoke responded well and regained their set-piece dominance, scoring two converted tries to re-establish the lead at 35-24. With only eight minutes to play, the match looked out of reach for Fordingbridge.
Man-of-the-match Charlie Boyns finished the game with a fine individual try. Receiving a pass inside the Bridge half, he again sprinted down the line and with only the full-back to beat, chipped the ball ahead.
Showing great composure, he slowed down and steadied himself waiting for the bounce of the ball and then collected and touched down.
It was a superb game of rugby played in excellent spirit and Basingstoke now go on to play Petersfield in the final.