RFU Hampshire Counties One rugby: New Milton return to winning ways with Bognor bashing
Hampshire Counties One
New Milton RFC 39
Bognor RFC 25
NEW Milton came into the contest with high hopes, and after coming from behind, their expectations were realised with a good performance and a home victory over Bognor.
The hosts entered the contest a place higher in the league than Bognor, but the visitors had yet to read the script and took an early lead.
New Milton responded well to take a lead into the break, which they built upon to outscore Bognor by five tries to three.
Bognor was quickly on the attack, and after a period of sustained pressure that included kicking a penalty into touch for a five-metre line-out, they scored a converted try before extending the lead to 10-0 after slotting a penalty through the posts.
The second score woke the Milton players from their malaise, and they quickly won a penalty that Connor Hammerstone converted to narrow the scores.
Another penalty gave Milton a line-out on the Bognor five-metre line, which the forwards won before – with the help of some backs – they drove towards the line, with Ben Russell marking his return to his boyhood club with a converted try.
As the half-time whistle approached, New Milton kept up the pressure, and they took the lead for the first time in the match courtesy of a successful penalty kick.
With the momentum firmly with the hosts, New Milton’s support hoped for a fast start, and the team duly delivered when a slick move and a stolen line-out preceded Dan Jackson breaking through the defence to touch down a converted try.
Bognor came back well, and they won a succession of penalties, at first trying to score a try from a line-out before deciding to take the points on offer and slot one through the uprights.
From the kick-off, New Milton looked to dash any hopes of a comeback when Milton stopped Bognor’s clearance kick, and the loose ball was gathered by Jack Corbett, who touched for his second try of the season.
When the match restarted, New Milton got the ball in hand and moved through the phases, taking the ball from the halfway line to the Bognor 22, where Jackson broke through to grab his second, which was converted.
Soon after, a yellow card left Bognor with an extra player, and they utilised the advantage superbly, with their speedy winger twice running away for two solo tries.
With the nerves beginning to jangle, New Milton’s forwards made a huge statement, winning the ball from a Bognor scrum before Milton’s Man of the Match Callum Wood passed fed Tom Gould, who powered down the wing for the touchdown.
Hammerstone stepped up to convert it, taking his tally to four converted tries and two penalties to seal a 39-25 win.
New Milton faces third-placed Gosport & Fareham away from home on Saturday at 14.30pm.
New Milton: R. Pearce, H. Chung, E. Hynd, J. Corbett, O. Woodhouse, B. Russell, R. Kendall, D. Jackson, C. Wood, C. Brown, J. Eldridge, L. Waugh, C. Hammerstone, J. Payne, D. Thomas. Subs: J. Blair, T. Gould, G. Knight.