GIVEN the teams’ respective records in Hampshire 1 and Petersfield’s ongoing selection problems, it seemed that damage limitation would be the home side’s main objective.

It didn’t turn out like that, however, and ’Field were disappointed not to defeat one of the division’s ‘form’ teams in a close encounter at Penns Place.

Millbrook kicked off with the gusting wind at their backs and immediately put the home defence to work. But as the Southampton side pushed for an early score, scrum-half Chris Adams intercepted a pass and, drawing his man, released Josh Haslett down the left. The flying wing needed no urging to outpace a scrambling defence and raced round to score near the posts. Will Jameson tamed the elements to add the extras.

Millbrook were stirred to even greater effort and immediately replied with a penalty. Territory and possession continued in the visitors’ favour, yet it was ’Field who snatched another try.

The pack drove Millbrook off their own scrum and a penalty was conceded. Although kickable, the conditions persuaded ’Field to opt for a scrum and their faith in the pack was rewarded as the backs were released in an attack that was finished off by pacey wing Aaron Cartwright. Jameson’s missed conversion proved the earlier tactics right.

Five minutes into the second quarter, Millbrook finally breached the stalwart defence as ’Field failed to clear their lines against the driving wind. The conversion brought the visitors within two points.

By the end of the half, Petersfield were addressing the imbalance in territory and possession, but missed what normally would have been a kickable penalty.

The break was slightly longer than usual as, at the request of Millbrook, ’Field switched into their change white kit.

Now with the wind behind them, ’Field began brightly, but lacked the final execution that would have brought them a crucial try.

Finally, at the start of the fourth quarter, the always lively Ben Hooper benefited from a strong drive by the pack and got the touch-down for another unconverted try.

Midway through this final quarter, things were looking good for Petersfield. At that vital stage, Millbrook, having been denied any success out wide, opted to ‘stick the ball up the jumper’ and a strong drive brought them a converted try. Scores level.

Two minutes later, ’Field thought they had scored another try as the nimble Cartwright darted through a flat-footed defence and showed his footballing skills with a dribble to the line before pouncing on the ball with the last defender in attendance. With no TMO, the referee gave Millbrook the benefit of the doubt and possession remained with them.

With barely three minutes to go, poor play by the home side allowed Millbrook to leapfrog from their own 22 to the other end. Securing possession from a penalty lineout, Millbrook mustered a 12-man drive and crossed the line for the winning try.

It was late heartbreak for a valiant ’Field, but what will hearten their supporters was the quality of their performance.

Petersfield remain eighth in the table, their two bonus points keeping them ahead of Locksheath Pumas. ’Field are next in action on November 21 when they travel to Isle of Wight.