NEW MILTON & District protected their place at top of Snows Group Hampshire 1 with a victory over long-standing rivals Romsey RFC.

The home side, who still have a long list of injuries, never managed to cross the line and were eventually beaten 19-3 by their New Forest visitors.

Competition was fierce from the whistle and one Romsey forward was sent off during the fiesty game while Milton played much of the match with 13 or 14 players after they were given three yellows.

New Milton were camped in the Romsey 22 for the opening 20 minutes and valiant defending kept them down to five points via a Ramon Mallette try.

Dalton Thomas touched down for the visitors in the first half and Eddy Hynd went over after the break as Milton collected at least four points for their win.

League officials will decide if that will be increased to five as Romsey could not field a front row player in place of the red-carded forward.

Ellingham & Ringwood moved into third place in the table after a top performance against visitors Petersfield – they also have a game in hand over the two sides above them.

The Forest side started well with an early try in the corner from full-back Dominic Pitt. Scrum-half Josh Butcher added a difficult conversion and landed two long-range penalty kicks to open up a 13-0 lead at the break.

Butcher nailed another penalty kick early in the second half, but Petersfield then crossed for a try from a rolling maul to close the gap to 16-5. Another Butcher penalty relieved the pressure, but a converted try from Petersfield made it 19-12 with five minutes left.

However, they had to settle for a losing bonus point as Ellingham’s defence held firm for an important home win.

Ellingham’s neighbours Fordingbridge produced a bonus point victory over Isle of Wight in a high-scoring encounter across The Solent.

Bridge ran in six tries in the first half to put them in the driving seat and another three after the break.

Crossing the line at regular intervals were flanker Ryan Burrell, Dee Stone, who made a brilliant mazy run from inside his own half and went over the line again later in the match, full-back Peter Scott, who also scored two, lock Alex Tattersall, who touched down twice, Mat Norton, who also kicked 12 points and Steve Brown.

Bridge coach James Greenwood said: “This was a disciplined and pleasing performance from us and we were clinical in converting the opportunities we created.”

Fawley lost top spot in Snows Group Hampshire 2 after being beaten 35-15 at Locks Heath Pumas.

Tim Gascoigne and Dave Johnson scored a try each for Fawley while Rob Thomas kicked a conversion and penalty.

Overton’s 21-13 victory at Alton puts them top of the league.

Southampton registered their first victory of the season with a 22-3 win over Nomads at Test Park.