Petersfield Rugby Club’s first team crashed to a comprehensive 77-0 defeat at Andover in Hampshire 1 on Saturday.
Whether it was an excess of seasonal celebrating, the effects of a journey of more than an hour on the club’s minibus, poor decision making, or the fact that on the day Andover were the better side and played to their strengths with skill and determination, which caused this comprehensive loss by Petersfield, it will doubtless be analysed by the players and coaching team.
On the positive Petersfield started brightly, taking the game to the opposition’s half and containing them for ten minutes until a kick for territory from Andover found their flying left winger who pouched the ball and touched down in the corner for an unconverted try to put the hosts ahead.
Five minutes later Field were pinged for offside at a ruck and from in front of the posts Andover kicked a penalty – which might have indicated they were unsure of the strength and capabilities of their opposition – to open up an 8-0 lead.
Unusually Petersfield struggled in the forwards’ set pieces of scrums and lineouts, and it was from an Andover penalty lineout that the hosts advanced their score to 13-0.
This was followed quickly by a score under the posts from an attacking scrum to move the score on after 25 minutes to 20-0.
Petersfield had, early in the second quarter, emptied their bench. One player was replaced as he was concussed in a collision at the base of a ruck and could take no further part and will have to go through the return-to-play protocol of four weeks while sidelined.
Another player had received a leg injury and required physio attention off the pitch, and a third was replaced for unspecified reasons.
Andover continued to score freely, advancing the score at half-time to 41-0.
The second half was a reprise of the first with Petersfield only occasionally advancing into the hosts’ half either by bullocking runs or long-range clearance kicks.
Perhaps it was frustration or just poor discipline from Field that the penalty count was so high in Andover’s favour.
This was sufficient for the referee to give a team warning that the next time a Petersfield player went off his feet he would yellow card him.
Although it seemed unlikely that this warning stymied Petersfield’s efforts, Andover did appear to take their foot off the throat of Petersfield while still amassing a further 36 points in the second half.
Petersfield entertain Bournemouth’s second team at Penns Place tomorrow (Saturday). It will be preceded by the club’s annual ladies’ lunch.