Midhurst field their Stags squad three or four times a season to give some of the club’s more senior players the opportunity of digging out their kit for an afternoon while aspiring first-teamers get some match experience.
And they enjoyed themselves immensely in their latest run-out which ended in a 24-0 win over Petersfield Vets.
Petersfield Vets have a good track record of playing cohesive rugby, and with the temperature at The Ruins nudging upwards in the spring sunshine, this set the scene for an afternoon of hard-won possession and some physical encounters on a pitch starved of moisture.
While neither team showed particularly blistering pace round the park, Midhurst’s decision to field James Catt and Jason Smith as flankers ensured every loose ball was seized upon and exploited.
This was exemplified by Catt, who ran in two tries.
Nick Moore and Seb Linke kept a tight control on their respective wings while Sam Ford and Simon Jenkins formed a ‘generationally-balanced’ partnership in the centres, which culminated in a superb try for Ford, breaking clear to score on the right wing in the first half.
Phil Luxton dusted off his kicking boots to gain some impressive yardage along the touchline, and while the Midhurst lineout was occasionally shaky, Mike Morgan linked at scrum-half to feed some quality ball to the backs.
Morgan embarked on a couple of ruck-busting excursions himself before being replaced by Steve Adams, who slotted two conversions to boost his points tally.
Petersfield’s considerable experience showed in the scrum, where they disrupted a number of Midhurst put-ins, until the arrival of Simon Flint lent a new edge to the Midhurst front row.
Skipper Wayne Moore was denied a crash ball score by a matter of centimetres as Adams fed from a ruck, and the Midhurst pack battered away all afternoon to disrupt all round the park.
Chris West and Andy Morrison kept the home team’s 22 area free of loose ball all afternoon, and although Petersfield washed up on the Midhurst goal-line on a couple of occasions, they were repelled by disciplined and controlled tackling which effectively shut down their scoring chances.
MIDHURST: Gamblin, Oakes, Gee, Moore, May, Catt, Smith, Proud, Morgan, Luxton, Jenkins, Ford, Linke, N Moore, West, Flint, Morrison, Adams.