A SUCCESSFUL penalty kick from captain Tom Yeatman just minutes before half-time proved to be the decisive moment of this rain-lashed double-header at Greenfields, writes Geoff Puryer.

Despite a storming second-half onslaught from the visitors, Puddletown held out for a victory which not only takes them into their first cup final for over 20 years but also increases the gap between the two clubs in Dorset & Wilts Two South to eight points.

Right from the off it was obvious that the wet conditions would preclude much in the way of running rugby, but that didn’t prevent these two closely-matched sides from putting on a classic tie, both fully contributing to an entertaining contest in which the result was in doubt right up to the final whistle.

The Villagers, quickly settling to their task, had the better of the first period and were unlucky not to have had more to show from some sustained and well-disciplined pressure, but take nothing away from an obdurate Poole outfit, who not only manfully weathered the storm but repeatedly tried to create opportunities of their own.

Although the conditions deteriorated further as the second half unfolded, the drama of the occasion certainly did not.

The intensity of the battle up front increased with still little to choose between the two packs. Both sides also missed kickable penalty opportunities, one to increase the lead, the other to draw level, while all the time two busy scrum halves scurried and sniped around in search of the one opening that could have sealed the result.

To their credit Poole threw everything they had at the home defence in the final 10 minutes and were virtually camped on the home try-line, but Puddletown were in no mood to surrender their slender advantage and somehow they resisted – it had been a close run thing though.

The Villagers now meet Lytchett Minster in the Dorset & Wilts Junior Plate final on Saturday at Swanage & Wareham RFC. Kick-off at Bestwall is at 1.45pm.

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