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Peter Knott delighted as his Midwives deliver

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OLD Midwhitgiftian had an encouraging victory against visitors Eastleigh, prompting their delighted coach Peter Knott to praise their intelligent decision-making in the last quarter to secure the game.

Mids had an opportunity to take the lead in the first three minutes, but it was Eastleigh who opened the scoring when Mids were in at the side of a ruck and centre John Lynch struck a sweet penalty goal.

Eastleigh had most of the possession but they were not allowed to settle all afternoon by a number of terrier-type performances from the Old Boys. Matt Farlow was everywhere and snuffed out countless Eastleigh moves, and scrum-half Jake Bacon was again in the thick of things.

Despite losing their own lineout a number of times, Mids kept harrying and Eastleigh coughed up the ball on numerous occasions.

Rob Farmer was always lively in the centre and, in a flash of brilliance, he intercepted an Eastleigh pass and ran from his own 10m line, keeping his feet well to avoid some last-ditch tap tackling, to score by the posts after 27 minutes. Dan Crouch converted and Mids had stolen an unlikely 7-3 lead.

This gave them confidence and, playing at a much faster pace than their opponents, they dominated the last ten minutes of the half.

Eastleigh restarted with more purpose and regained their dominance in the scrum. They forced Mids off their own ball and pressured the defence into conceding a number of penalties. But Lynch missed an easy kick and then a harder one.

When the visitors had an opportunity to pin Mids in the corner with the next penalty, they missed touch and prop Nathan Bacon fielded the ball and went on one of his favourite charging runs to raise the siege.

Eastleigh continued to press but could not find a way through the excellent home defence, until Lynch put up a huge kick to the corner which was perfectly placed for the winger to come in and score. He followed this kick with an excellent conversion from far out.

However, Mids were not to be denied and a charge upfield gave Jake Bacon the chance to kick ahead. The ball was spilled straight into the arms of Gareth Pritchard and he ran straight for the touchdown. Crouch added the extras and Mids knew there were points to be gained if they kept up their performance.

This they did admirably, with Mark Handley playing like a giant, turning over possession, converting defence into attack and giving inspired leadership.

Eastleigh kept up the onslaught but Mids took three of their attacking lineouts in succession, two through the athletic Dave Spedding and the third through the peerless Handley.

Lock Iain Munro was another solid presence.

For the last six minutes, they defended stoutly with 14 men after Andy Edwards was carded. They frustrated Eastleigh, not least when they mauled the ball forward for three valuable minutes as the clock ticked towards the final whistle.

Peter Knott delighted as his Midwives deliver


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