FORDINGBRIDGE welcomed Portsmouth II to the Rec for the first Hants Premier league meeting between the two clubs.
During the preceding vice president’s lunch, club chairman Ian Brown commented that due to unavailability in the backs this was a great opportunity for first team debuts for two ex-colts on both wings. The pair, Will Wildman and James Hirst, did not disappoint as they took to the field for the first time in senior colours for the club.
The league positions and season’s results suggested that Fordingbridge would start the game as favourites. However, the Portsmouth pack was a heavy and well drilled unit and their plan was to play to that strength.
It became clear from the outset that Fordingbridge were going to have play the game wide where their speedier backs could do the most damage.
‘Bridge got off the mark with two quick tries from Phil Collier and Mark Hammond and with Jamie Tryska converting both, the home side relaxed in the game a little.
With another converted try from Hammond (pictured) and an unconverted try from debutant Will Wildman, Fordingbridge started to gain the upper hand with a lead of 26-0 approaching half-time.
Following a loose pass in the centre of the field a Portsmouth interception saw their centre score under the posts for a converted try.
The home side pressed home one final attack into the break when debutant James Hirst went over out wide to take the half-time score to 31-7.
The second half started well for Fordingbridge when Hammond scored his third try of the day.
Midway through the half Fordingbridge slipped off the pace and lost the dominance they had enjoyed in the first period. Portsmouth were quick to capitalise, scoring two unconverted tries through their pack.
Peter Scott steadied the ship for Fordingbridge with a fine try and with Tryska adding the extras, the status quo was resumed.
With the score at 45-17 and six minutes to go, the match was won. However, Portsmouth were out to get their fourth try and bonus point which they succeeded to do in the last minute to take the final score to 45-22.
This turned out to be a tougher game than expected but Fordingbridge club captain Harry Hitchings said: “The team stuck at it when things were not going their way. I was delighted with the performance of the new young players James Hirst and Will Wildman who were awarded Men of the Match.”
Last weekend Fordingbridge II travelled to Southampton and secured a stunning 74-19 victory.