ONE point proved the difference for Ellingham & Ringwood thirds as they escaped the dreadful weather to win 25-24 at Blandford II, putting themselves back to the top of Dorset Division 4.

The match was played in very wet and cold conditions, but that didn’t stop Blandford from using their initiative early on. Playing down the hill they scored two converted tries to give them a 14-0 lead at the break.

The New Forest side made equally good use of the hill in the second half and scored three unconverted tries to take a 15-14 lead.

Blandford came back strongly, but chose to take a penalty kick when they were held up under the post just yards short of the Ellingham line.

This gave them a 17-15 lead, but turning down the opportunity to score seven points cost them dearly.

Ellingham dominated the next 15 minutes and scored two further unconverted tries through Rob Smith, pictured above, and Nick Doulton to take a 25-17 lead and a try bonus point.

But the home side weren’t finished and late in the game they scored a converted try to put them a point behind at 25-24. From the restart Ellingham were left clinging on to their slender lead, but they soaked up the pressure to secure an important win.

“We were very lucky to get this game played and did very well to secure an important away league win against a strong Blandford side,”

Ellingham thirds skipper Steve Benson said.

“This was a great start to the second half of our season and we’re now looking forward to our away league game at Weymouth next week.”


THE adverse weather wreaked havoc with Snows Hampshire One fixtures last weekend including the postponement of Fordingbridge’s crucial match at home to leaders Andover.

This will now be played on Saturday, January 18, with the Hampshire Bowl Cup-tie at Ellingham & Ringwood potentially rescheduled for Saturday, February 1.

Therefore, if conditions allow, Fordingbridge’s next league match will be on Saturday at Farnborough.

Fordingbridge’s second XV match against Dorset & Wilts 3 South League leaders Bournemouth 3rd XV also had to be postponed and it is hoped the flooded pitch at the Rec will recover and also allow this match to be played on January 18.