ROMSEY'S Hampshire league division one match against Southampton University Hospitals on Saturday proved to be an entertaining contest with the 18 : 18 draw ultimately being a fair reflection of the game.

Just as in the previous weeks’ game Romsey again started slowly and faced strong early pressure from the University side. Although Romsey conceded several penalties under pressure during the early minutes of the game they did not concede a try and the students were only able to convert one penalty into points giving them a 3-0 lead after ten minutes.

Having withstood the early pressure Romsey started to claw their way back into the game and Isaac Pitt made a strong break gaining significant ground. This was followed by a bullocking run by skipper Rob Hart and desperate University defence saw strong running centre Dan Penn Newman win a penalty when the students infringed on the ground. Isaac Pitt kicked successfully to level the scores at 3-3.

Romsey now had their tails up and following the restart Isaac Pitt was just denied on the line close to the corner flag and the University were able to clear, at least temporarily. Romsey were scrummaging well, allowing their backs to run strongly at the opposition and after sustained pressure Dan Penn Newman powered over for a try. A difficult conversion attempt was missed by inches leaving the score at 8-3 to Romsey.

The remainder of the half was nip and tuck with both sides having moments of pressure. Minutes before half-time the University side won a penalty in front of the posts which was easily converted to leave the score as Romsey 8 University 6.

After the break the University side continued to press and Romsey were pinned back in their own half for a period. Romsey upped their game again and stormed back into the University 22. Unfortunately Dan Penn Newman then received a yellow card and was sent to the sin bin for what the referee considered “cynical play” in impeding an opposition player, a decision which seemed rather harsh to the Romsey supporters.

Taking full advantage of Romsey‘s resulting ten minute spell with only 14 men, the University side powered forward and scored close to the posts, the simple conversion giving them a 13-8 lead.

Romsey came back strongly from the restart and when the University fell offside under the posts Isaac Pitt was able to kick a further three points to bring the score to 13-11 in favour of the University.

The return of Dan Penn Newman from the sin bin brought Romsey back to full strength and play continued in an entertaining end to end fashion with the University ultimately starting to show consistent attacking pressure. However a Romsey foray into their opponents 22 saw the students reduced to 14 men when one of their players was sin binned. The students were undaunted by this loss and to Romsey‘s dismay they ran strongly through to score another try which this time was not converted. With the end of the game looming things looked a bleak for Romsey with the score at 18-11 to the University.

Romsey showed real character in the final five minutes of the game, pressing forward strongly and using their forward power. A stunning forward drive from the opposition 22 ultimately crossed the University try line with hooker Ben Hoad grounding the ball and bringing the scores tantalisingly close at 18-16. Full time was up as Isaac Pitt lined up to take the difficult conversation from far out near the touch line and the crowd literally held their breath as it sailed through the posts to bring the scores level. It was a real pressure kick from the cool calm and collected Pitt.

Romsey still have much to work on and must avoid conceding the large number of penalties they gave away on Saturday. Nevertheless this was a highly entertaining game and Romsey can look forward with confidence to their visit to Ventnor next Saturday.