Petersfield Rugby Club’s Veterans ensured the senior section remained undefeated at home this season with a 26-19 victory against Portsmouth Veterans.
A large crowd of touchline support from both clubs were entertained with the teams putting on an excellent display of fast-paced, flowing rugby when both teams’ vastly-experienced packs secured quick ball.
It took all of the first quarter for the game to trouble the scoreboard. After Portsmouth had the larger share of possession and territory they crossed the try line in the right-hand corner for their first try.
The difficult conversion into a strong crossfield wind fell short, but the visitors led 5-0.
After the half-hour Petersfield – through forward power and back line finesse – were battering at Portsmouth’s five-metre line. Scrum half Andy Nichols wormed his way over the line from a ruck for a try that Barnes confidently converted. Neither team were able to advance the score before half-time, with Petersfield leading 7-5.
Portsmouth were held in their half for a couple of minutes from the restart. However, an error by the hosts found the visitors’ fleet of foot right winger with the ball and he used his pace and a clear run of 50 metres to score a converted try to put Portsmouth 12-7 ahead.
Petersfield replied with a well-worked try. The ball passed through as many as seven players’ hands before being carried over the line close to the upright by David Flett. The successful conversion put Field 14-12 ahead.
Petersfield’s next score was through a well-worked move from right to left. Full back Joe Billyard turned on the gas and from 25 metres out he glided down the left wing to round Portsmouth’s defence to score a converted try under the posts to make it 21-12.
Portsmouth’s response was to once again find their pacey winger, who opened up Field’s defence to score a converted try and make it 21-19.
With ten minutes left to play both teams sensed victory and perhaps tried to force the pace.
The error count mounted until a Portsmouth player was shown a yellow card for a high tackle which might have justified a red card in anything other than a friendly veterans’ game.
The hosts made the most of their numerical superiority and took the game to Portsmouth. Even when Petersfield were repelled they quickly regained possession to stay in the visitors’ 22.
With the clock running down it was Petersfield’s Dan Findlay who scored an unconverted try on the stroke of full-time to make the final score 26-19.