Locks Heath Pumas – 75
St Leonards Cinque Ports – 17
For the two previous weeks Ports had heavily defeated two touring sides., now they found themselves on the receiving end against a well organised Locks Heath side that had just been promoted to Hampshire 1.
The early exchanges were encouraging. Tom Ingram carried well, as did front rower Nick Giles. The lively Neil Davie looked to drive the phases through but with a score looking likely Ports spilled the ball.
Locks Heath found gaps and proceeded to run tries in at will against an uncharacteristic Ports tackling performance. Ross Kearney and Murray Warman both made key tackles, and Henry Hill playing out of position at full back made a few key tackles.
With the game clearly lost Ports found new energy. Davie took a quick penalty, and weaved and danced his way to the line. Ports found a period of possession, Warman was a dangerous runner and fended off a number of tacklers. Sadly he couldn’t find the line for a deserved try.
Paul Smart was an awkward presence at the breakdown but was also a creative channel too. He fed Davie and the scrum half found a gap before off-loading to Giles. The second half saw Pumas less dangerous, but still a number of scores were made.
Warman came close for Ports and Hill found a number of gaps. Unfortunately defensive work dominated and a better tackling performance held Pumas out. Ports used possession well and a borrowed Pumas player added a third try, ably converted by Smart.
Team Manager Gavin Thomas gave a realistic reflection on the match: “We played a quality side, and lost heavily but they recognised our dogged attitude and unwillingness to give up.”
Man of the match contenders were limited. Giles scrummaged well throughout, and offered some hard running but the final E-Heat man of the match was named as Murray Warman for an excellent performance of powerful running.
Team 15 Hill 14 Hall 13 Warman 12 Kearney 11 Mountain 10 Hill 9 Davie 1 Monks 2 Wright 3 Giles 4 Thomas 5 Porter 6 Pumas Player 7 Perry 8 Ingram