Petersfield Rugby Club’s first team finished their Hampshire 1 campaign with a 45-12 defeat at home to Havant’s second team at Penns Place on Saturday.
The result means Petersfield finish in tenth place in the 12-team league.
The club welcomed to the pre-match lunch past captains, their guests, and sponsors Syn-Star, Coombes and LMS Security.
Those lunching had the clubhouse touchline and balcony crowded with spectators.
The match was expected to be tough for Field as Havant are the top club in Hampshire and strong through all their senior teams – their seconds sit comfortably in third place in Hampshire 1.
From the kick-off Petersfield absorbed some 12 minutes of battering attacks from Havant and to the surprise and pleasure of the home support prevented Havant from scoring.
Petersfield’s defence was then finally breached for Havant to touch down near the posts for a converted try.
At the end of the first quarter, from a lineout on the right, Havant secured the ball and went through five pairs of hands before scoring on the left of the pitch. The conversion was successful as the ball hit the top centre of the crossbar before falling through the posts.
Just three minutes later, from a tapped penalty five metres out, Petersfield were unable to stop a driving maul and Havant scored a converted try.
Scrum-half Archie Whitear was replaced after an accidental boot to the head.
Almost from the restart Petersfield had the put in at a scrum on Havant’s ten-metre line. Replacement scum-half Eddie Matthews played head up rugby and spotted a gap in Havant’s back line and set off on what looked like a solo run. Matthews jinked round several defenders, was eventually tackled and offloaded to his fly-half Fin Sloan, who rounded the last defender to touch down to the right of the posts. Sloan converted his try to bring some hope to Petersfield’s supporters.
Petersfield were next to score from a rolling maul, where the pack controlled the ball through second row Ryan Morse for hooker Sam Brown to touch down for an unconverted try to make it 21-12.
Just before half-time Havant received a yellow card for a high tackle.
Petersfield flanker Tom Potter was on the receiving end of the tackle and was replaced because of a shoulder injury.
From kick-off in the second half, Havant found touch with a penalty. They won the lineout and in a crossfield move scored in the left corner for an unconverted try.
With 25 minutes left Havant’s second row scored a converted try between the posts, taking the score to 33-12.
Petersfield’s pack in the set scrums impressed throughout the game as they competed with a physically bigger Havant unit. For a period of almost ten minutes Field were camped on Havant’s 22, and in that time the pack were involved in eight scrums. Field’s forwards seemed to dominate, though they gained little reward with the referee awarding them one scrum penalty.
Petersfield’s backs were unable to breach the Havant back line when in attack – Havant’s defence regrouped and snuffed out several promising moves.
In the final quarter Havant’s backs – living off scraps from their pack and some Petersfield mistakes – added to their score by two tries, one unconverted, to win 45-12.
Head coach Vicky Alexander reflected on the match and the completed league programme.
She said: “I am so proud of the squad. They give me, our coaching and management team and their team-mates everything on the pitch every week. It’s a joy to be their coach.”
The first team’s next match will be a cup game away at Fordingbridge. The date is still to be confirmed.