In the warm sunshine the game got underway and within a minute we had touched down under the posts through Harry Hitchings, returning from injury. Tom Madgwick added the extra two and so began an extraordinary see saw game with both sides scoring seven tries apiece.
New Milton responded with two tries in the 7th and 15th minute but both were unconverted giving them a small 10 – 7 lead. It was then tit for tat tries until the half time whistle. Harry Northway scored for us followed by a converted try for New Milton. Dee Stone touched down next with Tom Madgwick converting.
The half ended with an unconverted try for New Milton in the fortieth minute to take them into the break with a slender 22 – 19 lead.
The second half was almost a carbon copy of the first with both sides exchanging tries on an alternate basis. Steve Brown opened the scoring for us with man of the match Mark Hammond converting but this was immediately countered three minutes later by a New Milton try.
In a break with the run of the match, we hit a purple patch and scored three tries in a row. A second for Steve Brown and Harry Hitchings and one Charlie Boyns. Only one of these was converted but we had stretched the lead to more than two points for the first time in the match to 41 – 27.
This was not, however, the end of this exciting contest. Out of replacements and with a player yellow carded, we were now down to thirteen men and under intense pressure from the well drilled New Milton pack. Their pressure paid off and they scored two late tries to bring the score back to 41 – 37 with five minutes remaining.
After controlling the ball from the re start, we managed to keep the play in the New Milton half and eventually won a penalty on the stroke of full time. Sam Broderick converted to end what had been a thrilling game with a win for us by 44 – 37.
All in all, a great match watch if not a little hard on our supporters nerves!