Petersfield fell to an emphatic 67-5 defeat at home to fellow strugglers Trojans in Hampshire 1 last Saturday.
Initially a double header with the respective second teams meeting on the same day, Trojans were unable to fill their second team and withdrew from that fixture.
Petersfield’s first-team squad is much reduced with more than 20 players nursing injuries or returning to playing fitness from time on the sidelines. Trojans, however, fielded a young, fit and determined team who from the kick-off had Field under pressure.
Trojans opened their account within four minutes with an unconverted try followed by two more – adding up to 17 points within the first 15 minutes. Petersfield’s forward pack – a cobbled together selection of props and flankers – were without a recognised lineout jumper, which did not help possession at their throw-ins. However, in the scrums and mauls they worked hard to contain a strong Trojans pack.
Ten minutes were to elapse before the scoreboard was troubled further by Trojans, with a converted try making it 24-0. In this period of relative stalemate Petersfield made several attacking moves only for the ball carrier to be tackled and lose possession or be rumbled into touch.
For a further ten minutes persistent hard work by the pack – notably veterans Mark Butcher and Dan Luff ably assisted by Jamie Hobbs and Sam Brown – gave the backs a few opportunities to run at Trojans. Backs Joe Atkinson and Fin Sloan made inroads but at times ran out of team-mates in support.
With half-time approaching and Trojans 36-0 ahead, a promising advance by Petersfield down the right-hand side of the pitch found the sprinting Leo Mehers. Mehers scrambled possession, and his momentum took him through the Trojans defence to score in the corner. Fly-half Archie Whitear’s difficult conversion failed to bisect the posts and at half-time the score was 36-5.
In the second half the match continued in Trojans’ favour, with the visitors adding a further 31 unanswered points despite almost succumbing to scoring moves from the industrious Sloan – whose mazy run ended just a couple of metres short. Alex Evans – when passed the ball in space – made two convincing runs up the left wing, while Joe Potter pushed hard at inside centre.
Forwards Kyle Babbage, Nathan Graysmark and Will Cross, and backs Jim Elgar, Scott Rose, Chad White and the evergreen Gerry Devlin, all put in a shift.
Field did pick up another couple of injuries, though, with the final scoreline slightly flattering Trojans.
Head coach Vicky Alexander and team manager Maz McGarr praised the commitment, effort and resolve of the players who stepped up to represent the club. Special mention was made to the three colts – Alex Evans, Leo Mehers and, playing in his ninth first team match, Archie Whitear.
Field face a tough test today (Saturday) when they host the leaders Jersey at Penns Place.