Counties Two Hampshire rugby: Title-chasing Ellingham set up season finale derby with Fordingbridge after dispatching Ellingham & Ringwood
Counties Two Hampshire
Chichester RFC II 7
Ellingham & Ringwood RFC 69
ELLINGHAM & Ringwood easily dispatched Chichester seconds to keep their title hopes alive with one match remaining, a thrilling league-deciding derby with Fordingbridge.
E&R sit third in the league, five points behind league leaders Bognor, and four behind local rivals New Milton, who spent most of the season at the division’s summit.
The visitors got off to a fine start on a bright sunny afternoon when fly-half Tom Veneroso skipped through for the opening try after a couple of minutes.
Chichester fought back and used their pace in the back line to complete effect, with their right winger Thomas Pink cutting a good line to score a try which they converted to take the lead, much to the delight of the home crowd.
Falling behind spurred the Ellingham forwards into action, and number eight David Budd crashed through the home team’s defence to restore the visitors’ lead, with their full-back Chris Frost kicking the conversion.
After some good link-up play, Frost then ran from deep and scored a well-worked try which he converted. Then, to neatly end the first half, Tom Veneroso went over for his second try of the game to make the half-time score 24-7.
Tom’s brother Sam Veneroso, playing at scrum-half, took over the scoring duties when he weaved through the home team’s defence to score his first try of the match, with Frost kicking the extras.
Then Frost, having an excellent game, got his second try after cutting through the home team’s defence before kicking the conversion again.
Then came the try of the match. Ellingham’s inside-centre Phil Todd ran from deep, slicing through the home team’s defence to provide his fellow centre Ben Carey with a sublime offload to allow the latter to crash over from five metres out.
Head coach Alan Steel rang the changes, and Brad Thomas replaced David Budd at number eight. The change paid off when Thomas crashed over to score a good try, which Frost successfully kicked.
Not to be outdone by his brother, Sam soon scored his second of the game in the far corner of the pitch.
Then Ellingham’s hooker Pat Fraser, returning from a ski trip with fellow forward Mike Treloar, smashed through several Chichester defenders to score the penultimate try of the game, which once again Frost converted.
To round off the day, Frost secured his hat-trick of tries with another one of his mazy runs from deep to score under the posts, converting to bring up a winning 69-7 scoreline.
If Ellingham & Ringwood win by a large enough margin in their final game of the season against Fordingbridge on Saturday, securing a bonus point victory, they will win the Counties Two Hampshire title.
Ellingham & Ringwood: T. Sampson, P. Fraser, A. Payne, M. Treloar, J. Fisher, J. Morrish, F. Cockeram, D. Budd, S. Veneroso, T. Veneroso, D. Parker, P. Todd, B. Carey, J. Kelly, C. Frost. Subs: B. Thomas, R. Ticehurst, C. Hills.