Snows Group Hampshire 2

ROMSEY’S Hampshire 2 title hopes took a huge dent as they lost out to fierce rivals Farnborough.

The north Hampshire side made themselves favourites to finish the campaign top of the table as they won the ill-tempered encounter at the Sports Centre 36-15. They now have a three-point cushion and a game in hand.

Romsey were expecting a physical battle from the start and let discipline slip several times over the 80 minutes, being shown four yellow cards and a red.

The home side dominated the opening exchanges despite being a man down for ten minutes when Matt Sparks reacted to some heavy-handed play and was sent to the sin bin to cool down following a late hit on teammate Jim Windibank.

Romsey’s steel showed through as debutant prop, Andrew Hill, chased down a box kick and the follow-up pressure allowed Windibank to open their account with a sprint finish into the corner.

Farnborough made their extra man count and scored in the corner before a mass brawl broke out in the middle of the field and Romsey centre Jed Easton was shown red. The pressure was on the home side for the final 60 minutes.

Romsey took a while to settle to the 14-man game before half time and Farnborough scored three tries to enter the break 26-5 up.

“Farnborough are not a nice side and, although understandable, it is a shame that we took the bait and lowered our game play to match theirs,” said Romsey coach Matthew Southey.

“I was, however, very proud of the resilience the team showed and to outscore the visitors two tries to one in the second half proves we had the quality, if not the numbers, on the field.”

Second half tries came via Matt Sparks and Dan Pen Newman.