PETERSFIELD XV 21, Royal Navy President’s XV 38.

In a first for Petersfield Rugby Club, Penns Place welcomed a Royal Navy President’s XV for a pre-Christmas night match in aid of the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity.

The event was a great success, raising £2,400 for the principal charity of the Royal Navy.

There was also a presentation to the charity of £400 raised during the Field Gun Run undertaken by a mixture of ’Field players, associates and Field Gun servicemen at the August Bank Holiday festivities in Petersfield. The run also raised hundreds of pounds for the Parkinson’s Disease Charity.

The cheque to the RN was presented to Gareth Hughes by former Field Gunner Dave Morton, a Parkinson’s sufferer, who spoke movingly and with great charm and courage about this debilitating disease.

The packed programme ahead of the main match began with a supper in the clubhouse, sponsored by Milkwood Care Ltd. There was also a barbecue and bar, and refreshments from the In Touch Café.

The on-field action started with an U9s match between Petersfield and US Portsmouth and an in-house affair that pitched Petersfield’s U12s against the U13s.

The Royal Navy Band of HMS Sultan entertained the crowd before the main match.

The teams and match officials from the RN RFU Referees Society, Andy Coles, Stuart Kilby and Steve Overvoorde, were introduced to the special guests, Rear Admiral Ben Key RN, Ady Cherrington RN and Ian Kerr, Hampshire RFU president, accompanied by Petersfield RFC secretary Rob Mocatta.

’Field coach Andy Patience had selected a combination side with a sprinkling of promising youth players.

The home side faced the high winds and sleeting rain in the first half and the game looked over for ’Field when they trailed 0-31 at half-time.

But surrender is not in the club lexicon and the second half belonged to ’Field. The 2nd XV’s try-machine, Harley Orr, took a quick tap and barrelled over for a try and Will Jameson coolly slotted over the conversion.

The home pack continued to dominate, at times driving the Navy back as though on rails, and it was through the scrum that Petersfield scored again. They took the scrum option for a succession of penalties until the referee had seen enough and raced for the posts; Jameson again true with the boot.

However, the Navy remained dangerous and when Petersfield’s defence became fragmented, they sailed through for their sixth try.

’Field were not done yet and another five-metre scrum provided the launch-pad for a late attack. Scrum-half Charlie Partington freed himself from the close attentions of his opposite number to feed the ball out and centre Fraser Patience finished the move. Jameson again hoisted the ball through the uprights; 21-38.

All in all, a cracking game of rugby, with Petersfield beaten by a strong Navy side, but restoring pride through dogged determination and the ability to execute a changed game plan.