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New Milton edge Forest thriller against Fordingbridge

New Milton RFC forward Mario Santa-Maria in action against Fordingbridge RFC
New Milton RFC forward Mario Santa-Maria in action against Fordingbridge RFC

Hampshire Premier: Fordingbridge RFC 43-50 New Milton RFC

NEW Milton RFC leapfrogged Fordingbridge after a high-scoring 50-43 victory at the Rec in the Hampshire Premier division.

It was a game played at pace, but ill-discipline by the home side lead to two yellow cards within a minute. New Milton capitalised on this, scoring 19 points during Fordingbridge’s 13-man session from which they could not recover.

In a see-saw first-half, New Milton took a 24-19 lead going into half-time. Rufus Wallis, Joe Tooze and Charlie Boyns all got on the scoresheet for Fordingbridge in the first period, but Milton responded creating pressure in the Bridge 22, gaining possession with Tom Gould running in to touch down.

Ryan Morrell broke through to score twice for the visitors. Two penalties against Bridge resulted in them being reduced to 13 men. Milton quickly took advantage, and from the resulting line-out the forwards pushed for the line, Sammy Hattab breaking through for the score with Lavis adding the extras.

The second half got under way but with the two-man deficit, the floodgates opened for the fit and fast New Milton backs who ran in three tries in six minutes.

A penalty from the kick-off gave New Milton a scrum which they pushed over the line, with Hattab claiming his second of the game.

New Milton went forward again and Hattab broke through several tackle attempts, passing to Adam Lavis who weaved his way through the defence to touch down.

Suddenly Fordingbridge were facing a mountain to climb with the score now 43-19, a seemingly impossible task.

However, back to a full complement, Jasper Wallis scored to give the home supporters something to cheer about. New Milton scored an unconverted try to reset their lead.

A penalty against Milton reduced them to 14 men which was the signal for a Bridge tsunami to start, and in the space of five minutes, they scored three tries, one being converted, which brought them to within nine points of Milton with five minutes to go.

Milton finally got possession and were able to hold out to win an exciting game of rugby.

It was a bonus-point win for New Milton, but Fordingbridge did manage to claim two points.

The Fordingbridge man of the match was Will Marsh, who made a significant impact when he came on in the second half.

Mar Hammond, the Fordingbridge captain, said after the match that the scoreline perfectly illustrated the importance of good discipline and keeping all 15 players on the pitch.

Fordingbridge’s next match is away to Alresford while New Milton host Havant II on 4th January.

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