New Milton v Dolphins – Hampshire Cup Quarter Final. 15/12/13
Result: New Milton 0 – 35 Dolphins
Tries: Hutton (3), Leat, Whitehead, Walsh
Very challenging conditions greeted the two teams today in the New Forest, blowing a gale and raining.
Dolphins started with the wind at their backs and the first few minutes showed that the wind was going to be a factor as from the New Milton kick-off the ball was blown backwards and didn’t go 10, and the first Dolphins kick out of defence went from inside their own 22 to find touch inside the New Milton 22.
New Milton were up for the fight from the first minute – literally as it turned out – but in truth struggled to make any headway into the wind for the whole of the first half. Within ten minutes the Dolphins were 10 – 0 to the good, from a penalty from Danny Heyes and a converted try from Jarod Leat. The try was synonymous with the superiority the forwards had for the majority of the game. A lineout deep in New Milton territory was secured by the pack, who controlled a rolling maul brilliantly to take them over the line.
The Dolphins forwards were causing New Milton all sorts of problems and from a great turn over in the loose a cross-field kick found James Hutton in space who went over in the corner to make the score 15 – 0.
New Milton were struggling to get out of their own half and following a scrappy period of play the forwards secured the ball, sucked in the defence with powerful running round the fringes leaving a gap out wide for James to exploit for 20 – 0.
No more scoring in the first half, but frustrations boiled over just on half time, and from the resulting melee one from each side were dispatched to the bin. A note on the referee at this point, he was superb. The way he controlled the game in general, and the fracas in particular was very impressive and allowed, in general, a free-flowing game.
Half Time: New Milton 0 – 20 Dolphins.
I guess that New Milton would have fancied their chances in the second half with the wind at their backs but it was the Dolphins who scored first, and it was my favourite try of the game as forwards and backs combined to put James in the corner for 25 – 0. Dolphins forwards secured the ball on half way, got their body positions correct to protect the ball at the back of the maul and marched forward into the New Milton 22. The ball was then released at just the right moment for the backs to fizz the ball along the line to James.
That was to be the end of James’s involvement in the game as he tweaked a knee chasing a fly kick to the New Milton line, leaving the Dolphins with 14 players as they had no substitutes due to fact that the Havant squad were fielding both a Dolphins and a Sharks side in different locations on the day, and others were missing due to injury, holiday and divisional trials.
The numerical disadvantage didn’t stop the scoring though as the forwards were still bossing both the set piece and the breakdown. Good work again around the fringes opened a gap for Matt Whitehead to blast through for a fifth try, and the final try was scored by Joe Walsh, who stole a New Milton lineout on their own 5m line and smashed his way over.
Final Score: New Milton 0 – 35 Dolphins
Given the conditions it was a good performance by the Dolphins today. The forwards won the game as their power in the set piece and speed in the loose enabled them to both score tries themselves and give the backs the front foot ball, time and space to expose the New Milton defence out wide.
Green Jacket: Jarod Leat
Dolphin Award: Matt Whitehead