Ding-dong battle between local rivals Fordingbridge and New Milton
Hampshire Premier: New Milton RFC 37-44 Fordingbridge RFC
FORDINGBRIDGE RFC crept past New Milton in a high-scoring affair at Ashley Recreation Ground in the Hampshire Premier.
The game got under way in warm sunshine and within a minute Fordingbridge touched down under the post through Harry Hitchings. However, the hosts quickly responded as Ryan Morrell ran in to touch down.
Morrell then kicked the ball high over to the left-wing where Tyrone Holden fought for collection with two Bridge players – he won the ball and touched down for a converted try.
Fordingbridge found themselves in front when Harry Northway and David Stone tumbled over the try line for two scores. Bridge were reduced to 14 men following a penalty, and New Milton took advantage as Jack Corbett drove over to give New Milton a slender 22-19 lead at half-time.
The second half began similar to the first with both sides exchanging tries. Steve Brown opened for the visitors with Mark Hammond converting but this was immediately countered three minutes later by a New Milton try from Russell Early.
A high tackle reduced New Milton to 14 men and Bridge took full advantage, scoring three tries through Brown, Hitchings and Charlie Boynswith to put them ahead.
Another yellow card and out of substitutes, Fordingbridge were down to 13 men which allowed New Milton back into the game.
Morrell claimed his hat-trick and Corbett added his second to set up a tense finish. However, there would be no miraculous comeback for the hosts as Fordingbridge controlled the ball and forced a penalty which Sam Broderick converted on the full-time whistle that sealed a 44-37 victory for the visitors.