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Second-half comeback for Ellingham & Ringwood over New Milton

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Hampshire Premier
Ellingham & Ringwood RFC 32
New Milton RFC 27

ELLINGHAM & Ringwood overcame a 12-point half-time deficit to take a thrilling New Forest derby victory over local rivals New Milton.

The long-awaited triumph, E&R’s first win over New Milton since 2007, was played in front of a large crowd for their last home league game of the season.

The two sides took to a Raymond Brown Memorial Ground bathed in the early spring sunshine, but there was a strong wind that was to have a big influence on the game.

New Milton's Joe Eldridge tries to break through the E&R defence (photo: David Corbett)
New Milton's Joe Eldridge tries to break through the E&R defence (photo: David Corbett)

New Milton were immediately into Ellingham’s half with the wind behind them. They quickly won a penalty, which Connor Hammerstone converted. He added a further two penalties shortly afterwards.

To add to Ellingham’s problems, their lock forward Andrew Lorton was shown a yellow card leaving them a man short for 10 minutes.

The New Milton forwards were working well and, having shown their power in the set scrums and from the kick-off, Jack Corbett caught the ball and drove to the try line. The Ellingham defence prevented the try, but the action was deemed illegal, and Hammerstone slotted the resulting penalty.

Ellingham moved the ball through their backs from the kick-off, but the Milton centre Danny Oliver intercepted and ran in an easy converted try.

Ellingham responded immediately, and after some surging runs from flank forward Callum Butler and prop Will Trim, their scrum-half and captain Henry Benson sent the ball wide for wing-three-quarter Will Jenkins to dive over.

E&R continued to apply pressure from the restart, which resulted in Jenkins scoring his second.

However, New Milton fought back, and Hammerstone kicked a further penalty before half-time to give the visitors a 22-10 lead.

With the win now benefitting them, Ellingham started well, playing the open running rugby that has epitomised their season. Despite this, it took 10 minutes to move the scoreboard as the visitors’ defence was solid and managed the game well. Superb work from the pack led to lock Andrew Lorton crashing over for a try near the posts, with full-back Frost kicking the conversion.

The visitors’ ill discipline then led to another penalty, bringing Ellingham within two points.

Then came the try of the game: from inside their half, superb link-up play from Ellingham’s forwards to the back-line led to some neat interchanges between Will Jenkins and inside centre Archie Cockayne, who crashed over for a brilliant try in front of a boisterous home crowd.

Ellingham extended the lead further when prop Will Trim went over for Ellingham’s fifth of the game, and Frost utilised the wind for a successful kick and the additional two points.

With the clock running down, New Milton winger Nick McQueen, a former Ellingham player, raced through to score a try to narrow the scores to 32-27 in E&R’s favour, reversing the five-point victory New Milton secured in the previous encounter.

E&R: C. Frost, W. Jenkins, M. Raybould, A. Cockayne, H. Wescott, G. Thew, H. Benson, A. Payne, L. Reynolds, W. Trim, A. Lorton, M. Skeates, C. Butler, B. Carey, S. Pearce, T. Benevento, B. Evans, D. Partrice.

New Milton: L. Booker, J. Lines, D. Smith, J. Corbett, P. Du Preez, S. Bew, F. Hodges, N. McQueen, A. Lavis, C. Brown, D. Oliver, C. Conacher, J. Eldridge, C. Hammerstone, Z. Smith, C. Wood, M. Moor.

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