Counties Two Hampshire rugby: New Milton thump Fordingbridge
Counties Two Hampshire
New Milton RFC 70
Fordingbridge RFC 28
New Milton provided a feast of tries in their final home match of the season, extending their lead at the top of the table.
They ran in 12 tries against Fordingbridge to secure a bonus-point victory, but their destiny is now in the hands of other clubs, who can snatch away the title by winning their games in hand.
The home side put on a show for the club’s vice-presidents, and although mid-table Bridge grew into the game, their four tries failed to make much of an impact.
New Milton made a blistering start, scoring straight from the kick-off when Dan Mallard collected the ball before setting off, barging past and through defenders to run half the pitch length and score a converted try.
Milton dominated the line-outs, and two successful takes led to the following two touchdowns. Firstly, the forwards won the ball on the Bridge 22, and the ball was spun out to try-scorer Dalton Thomas before another led to Christian Brown weaving his way past tackle attempts to dot down.
New Milton were flowing, and back Chris Conacher, playing on the wing, combined well with Charlie Jewiss, who added his name to the scoresheet before Lewis Waugh showed impressive strength and speed to add a converted try.
A slick move between the backs created time and space for Joe Eldridge, who ran in to score.
Bridge finally gave their travelling support something to cheer when their forwards gained possession in the Milton 22 and pushed over for a converted try. They then scored again when they followed up a kick ahead, with their backs passing well to grab another converted try.
However, New Milton demanded the final say, scoring the half’s last try after a decent scrum allowed Waugh to break away, for a 39-14 lead.
After the break, the hosts renewed their relentless attacks. Two further tries soon came after Tom Gould and Connor Hammerstone broke clear before unselfishly feeding Sam Bew and Mallard respectively.
Bridge managed to string together a period of possession, forcing New Milton to defend, but from a turnover, Hammerstone chased down Brown’s clearance kick before passing out of the tackle for Eldridge to score.
The hosts were ruthless, and immediately from the kick-off, Mallard gained possession and charged through to score a converted try.
Although outclassed, Fordingbridge battled on, scoring two tries either side of Brown’s mazy solo try to close out a thrilling 70-28 victory for New Milton.
Adam Lavis’s laser-guided boot converted five of Milton’s 12 tries, while flanker Waugh was judged best player on the pitch.
New Milton will play their final league match tomorrow (Saturday) when they take on Tottonians seconds away.
New Milton: T. Gould, L. Booker, S. Bew, B. Steers, J. Corbett, J. Lines, D. Mallard, L. Waugh, A. Lavis, C. Brown, C. Conacher, C. Hammerstone, C. Jewiss, J. Eldridge, D. Thomas. Subs: H.Chung, L. Thomas, F. Anderson.
Fordingbridge: A. Cross, J. Donaldson, L. Hobbs, P. Collier, L. Christensen, J. Waters, E. Howe, M. Hammond, J. Hammond, S. Broderick, W. Marsh, S. Sims, A. Davenport, C. Ball, P. Scott. Subs: B. Gardner, C. Clarke-Boxall, M. Turner.