United Services teach University a lesson to keep title bid on track

Heathens player Johnny Stoppard has the ball against Stoneham.  Picture: Paul Jacobs (14210-7)
Heathens player Johnny Stoppard has the ball against Stoneham. Picture: Paul Jacobs (14210-7)
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United Services gave the students of Solent University a lesson in defending to earn a vital 29-21 Hampshire One win.

Services were down to 13 men for the final quarter of an hour but tackled like demons to keep the students out.

The win takes Services up to third in the league and keeps their title ambitions very much alive.

Director of rugby Simon Burns felt it was a crucial result for his team.

He said: ‘It is games like this that we need to win to be at the top.

‘We dug deep in the closing stages and were determined not to let them in.

‘It was an excellent team performance giving us three wins out of three since Christmas.’

Services established a 22-16 half-time lead helped by two interception tries from winger Chris Marriott.

Wing forward Dainius Baltrukenas and hooker Dave Reed also scored tries before the interval as Services got themselves on to the front foot.

Veteran pair 43-year-old Matt Davies and 42-year-old Burns tightened Services grip, 10 minutes into the second half.

Davies made a blindside break and Burns sped in from the twenty-two for his try converted by Marriott.

The students reduced the arrears with a converted try but Services held out under seige to collect their bonus point win.

In Hampshire two, Locks Heath Pumas pushed Petersfield all the way before losing their top-of-the-table clash 6-3 at Penns Place.

The game was switched to Petersfield with the Locks Heath pitch waterlogged.

Nic Di Stefano put the Pumas ahead with a penalty early in the second period.

But the league leaders hit back with two penalties for victory.

‘There was little to choose between the two teams,’ said Pumas coach Jim Pearce.

Fareham Heathens recorded an emphatic 87-0 win over Stoneham at Cams Alders.

Southsea Nomads edged to a 22-21 home victory over Aldershot & Fleet.

Meanwhile, Nomads player Aaron Beesley made his debut for England Deaf, coming on as a 50th-minute replacement, in the 36-3 loss to Wales yesterday.