Hampshire Counties One rugby: Powerful Portsmouth punish depleted New Milton
Hampshire Counties One
Portsmouth RFC 47
New Milton RFC 5
NEW Milton came into the match with high hopes after an excellent showing in their previous outing, but a depleted team were second-best, losing 47-5 to Portsmouth.
The travelling Milton side were keen to exact revenge on a side that narrowly beat them earlier in the season.
However, multiple players unavailable due to illness left them with a team of just 15.
Despite tremendous defensive commitment from New Milton, the hosts outscored them by seven tries to one.
Portsmouth attacked the New Milton backs from the kick-off, using the possession well and running in to score an early converted try.
New Milton’s forwards were up against a strong pack, but they managed to maintain possession long enough to allow the backs to create pressure in the Portsmouth 22.
From a resulting scrum on the Pompey 10-metre line, they won the ball and kicked ahead to the corner, which Joe Eldridge followed up, gathering the ball to grab his first try of the season.
From then on out, New Milton had to work hard in defence, and they stood up to the task, making secure tackles against larger players.
Meanwhile, the line-outs worked well, getting the ball out to the backs, including New Milton’s best player on the day, Lewis Waugh, who had a new outside centre to pass to in Rylan Pearce, who moved from his normal prop position.
Milton’s defence worked well until the final 10 minutes of the half, when a penalty award gave Portsmouth a five-metre line-out, which their forwards just pushed over for a converted try, with another quickly following this to make it 19-5 at the break.
After the restart, Milton was quickly into the Portsmouth half, and a penalty award gave them a five-metre line-out. They managed to create some pressure on the try-line, but the Pompey defence held, and they cleared the ball.
Milton’s vigorous tackling continued, with the whole team contributing to the defensive play, preventing further Portsmouth scores until the end of the third quarter of the match, when the Portsmouth forwards ran in a converted try.
The robust play tested the players, with first aider and physio Mark Hughes doing his best to keep them going, but Portsmouth ran in five late tries in the final 13 minutes to rub salt in the wound.
New Milton travel to take on bottom-of-the-table Alton on Saturday at 3pm.
New Milton: E. Hynd, F. Hodges, H. Chung, J. Jackson-Smith, S. Bew, T. Wood, R. Kendall, D. Mallard, T. Thorn, C. Brown, J. Eldridge, L. Waugh, R. Pearce, L. Day, T. Brown. Subs: F. Hodges, C. Wood.