We started the match fourth in the Hampshire Premier League with Millbrook just one place below them in fifth. With the season over half way through and the teams settled this was going to be a close encounter.
It was almost a quarter of the way into the half before we took the lead with a Mat Norton penalty, but it is true to say that this was against the run of play. Millbrook have always had a large well drilled pack who dominate set pieces and this game was no exception. We were on the back foot for large parts of the half. Two tries in the space of three minutes from Millbrook swept them into twelve points to three lead.
We started to move play away from the Millbrook forwards and on thirty minutes scored our first try through Ross Bealey which Mat Norton converted. Just before the break Tom Tully added to our score and at the interval we had a slender three-point advantage at 15 – 12.
However, in this see saw game, Millbrook bounced back after the break with an unconverted try to re-establish their lead. As Millbrook had in the first half so we did in the second scoring two tries in quick succession, one from Mark Hammond and the other from Nick Rundle. With both converted the lead again changed hands in our favour. At this point it began to look as though we had taken control of the game at 29 -17 but Millbrook had other ideas.
Another unconverted try from Millbrook narrowed the gap until Fordingbridge stand-off Steve Brown capped a flowing three quarter move to stretch the lead again to 36 – 22.
With ten minutes to go the travelling ‘Bridge supporters began to relax a little, but the game had yet more to offer. we had two men yellow carded in the last ten minutes of the match, one of which resulted in a penalty try. Despite a desperate defensive effort from the thirteen man Fordingbridge side we could not hold out Millbrook who scored the last try of the game to even the scores at thirty six all.
This was great game of rugby played in excellent spirit by two very evenly match teams and at the after match celebrations all agreed it was the right result for such a super game.
Next week sees both Fordingbridge sides play at home, the 1 XV welcome New Milton and the 2XV, Alton 2XV