Winchester 23 – 17 Guildford

Winchester's pitch has improved so much that they were able to serve up an excellent game of attacking rugby against Guildford despite the week's terrible weather.

Winchester started well but butchered an early chance when veteran centre Jake Hiscock forgot his strengths and decided to throw a pass. It fell short of Tom Forster who was unable to do much with the bouncing ball. Guildford infringed at a ruck leaving Tommy Hare an easy three points. This proved to be his only successful kick.

The visitors moved the ball crisply but tended to play from side to side without going forward. The home team's defence coped admirably with Alex Lee, in one of his fit phases, and Wilf Nicholson chopping down anything that moved. Winchester’s pressure paid dividends when fullback Hare scored in the corner. Just when it seemed Guildford would hold out until half-time Forster, playing in leggings, finished off some lovely attacking play. 

Guilford returned to the fray refreshed and a great break by Alex Jordan led to a try for Louis Bounds. They were right back in the game. The return to fitness of kiwi number 8 Jack Coles has led to Matt Golding's bulk being moved into the second row. Winchester used this extra weight to dominate the scrum and regain control. Scrum half Connor Breen, playing with a maturity that has been a long time coming, fed his runners effectively. Concerted pressure on Guildford's line saw Golding power over from close range and at 18-5 Winchester looked set. Hare's second try came when, spotting a lack of cover in the backfield, he kicked and chased hard to score an excellent try.

At 23-5 it seemed that the game was done and dusted. Head coach Gareth Martin was seen speaking intensely into his radio. Who knows what he was saying, but it probably wasn't ‘let Guilford back into the game’. However, that was what happened. Number 8 Joe Garner was having a strong game and sparked a great attack. It ended with the double blow of a try and a yellow card for Winchester's Alex Mawdsley. Suddenly Winchester looked spooked. 

Guildford kept coming and scored straight from the kick off. They were now within one score with two minutes remaining. Fortunately for the large home crowd, Winchester regained their composure. A powerful scrum ate up time and Tom Fieldsend hoofed the ball off, to end the game.