Hampshire Counties One rugby: Ellingham & Ringwood come from behind to beat local rivals New Milton
Hampshire Counties One
Ellingham & Ringwood RFC 22
New Milton RFC 16
ELLINGHAM & Ringwood welcomed local rivals New Milton to the Raymond Brown Memorial Ground for a tightly fought contest.
The ground was bathed in much-needed sunshine after the deluge the previous week which had made training impossible for both sides.
Ellingham put themselves under pressure early in the game when they failed to deal with a clearance kick, and New Milton took control of the first seven minutes.
The pressure led to Ellingham conceding a penalty in front of their posts, which New Milton inside centre and eventual man-of-the-match Lewis Waugh kicked for a three-point lead.
Ellingham struggled to get out of their half, and Milton, sensing their opposition had yet to get to grips with the game, linked up well to score a try when their flanker Lee Thomas crashed over. Waugh kicked the conversion to open up a deserved 10-point lead.
Ellingham finally stirred into action, and they started to piece together some good passages of play. They applied pressure to New Milton’s try line, and the visitors gave away four penalties in a row. From the final one, Ellingham number eight Lewis Nicholls forced his way over to give Ellingham their first try of the game, which full-back Chris Frost kicked successfully.
There was no further score in the first half, but Ellingham flanker Tyler Grant earned a yellow card for killing the ball close to the try-line, so the hosts had to work hard to stifle New Milton’s attack and leave them trailing 10-7 at the break.
Ellingham coach Alan Steel and their captain and scrum-half Sammy Veneroso did their best to provide stirring half-time talks to inspire the home team to turn things around.
However, the speeches must have fallen on deaf ears, as Ellingham’s discipline continued to let them down, and they conceded several penalties, which Waugh took advantage of, kicking two for a 16-7 Milton lead.
Not wanting to lose to their local rivals, Ellingham sprang into action, with Frost kicking a penalty to reduce the deficit.
Then, leading from the front, skipper Veneroso dived over for a try after some sustained efforts by his forwards, who valiantly tried to breach the visitors’ try line. His brother Tommy , who had come on in a straight swap for Harry Wescott at fly-half, kicked the conversion, and the hosts will be delighted to have him back on the park after being out all season with a long-term injury.
Ellingham then started to dominate, and after some fine link-up play between their forwards and the back-line, right winger Chris Seaby sped down the flank to score Ellingham’s third try of the game.
New Milton did not give up, and again, Ellingham’s discipline nearly let them down by conceding penalties in their half, but despite the visitors’ efforts, they could not pull back the deficit, and Ellingham’s defence was strong enough to withhold the late pressure.
Both sides are in league action on Saturday at 3pm, with Ellingham & Ringwood visiting Bognor and New Milton hosting unbeaten league leaders Petersfield.
Ellingham & Ringwood: A. Payne, P. Fraser, J. Berry, J. Fisher, M. Treloar, T. Henfrey, T. Grant, L. Nicholls, S. Veneroso, H. Wescott, B. Evans, A. Bennett, B. Carey, C. Seaby, C. Frost. Subs: T. Veneroso, T. Johnson, C. Hancock.
New Milton: E. Hynd, H. Chung, R. Pearce, J. Corbett, J. Blair, S. Bew, L. Thomas, D. Jackson, C. Wood, C. Brown, T. Gould, L. Waugh, J. Payne, J. Eldridge, L. Day. Subs: G. Knight, J. Korbey, J. Jackson-Smith.