Saturday 17th November 2018
London 3 South West
Match Report by Jim Dixon
Old Georgians 20 – 28 Portsmouth
This was the first encounter for Portsmouth as they travelled away to Eshers’ ground for this away fixture. Old Georgians are Old Boys of St.Georges College, Weybridge, and were formed in 2011. Although one of the youngest clubs Portsmouth have played they knew it would be a hard battle as O.G’s have won successive promotion every year for the past 4 years.
They play their home games on the Collage ground but are not allowed to use the facilities once the clocks change to winter time so have to arrange venues with local clubs, hence the trip to Esher and a game on their 1st.XV pitch. A very splendid setting!
OG’s got proceedings underway and with Brock fielding the ball he set off upfield with Parry taking over with a good run into the Opposition 22. A penalty against the home side saw Portsmouth kick to touch for a 5 metre lineout. This they duly won and with good work from Tim Snowden the ball was slipped to Louis Bristow who went over for the first score of the match with 5 minutes of the game over. Chris Morgan’s conversion hit the outside post so the score stood at 0 – 5. From the re-start Portsmouth went on the attack again but as the ball was moved across the backs a loose pass saw O. G’s take the ball deep into the Portsmouth 22 and from there they scored a try through their centre. The conversion was true and they re-took the lead 7 – 5 with 8 minutes gone. Portsmouth were having some success with stealing O. G’s lineout ball and they kept up pressure on their hosts with scrum half Morgan also giving a good display. With the game swinging end to end Portsmouth were eventually awarded a penalty for a high tackle in front of the posts just outside the 22 metre line. Morgans kick was true and Portsmouth re-took the lead 8 – 7 with 20 minutes gone. Another lineout to O. G’s just 5 metres from the visitor’s line was again disrupted by Snowden and Portsmouth managed to clear their lines with a good touch kick. Shortly after Portsmouth again got deep into O. G’s territory when from a scrum in their 22 they won good ball and strong carries from Finn Parry, Adam Parks and Daz Leggott saw them camped in the opposition 22 area. However another good backs move came to nothing when another loose pass was gathered by O. G’s and they took play right back into the Portsmouth 22 and eventually they scored their second try through their backs close to the posts. |The conversion was true and they re-took the lead 14 – 8 with about 5 minutes of the half remaining. Daz Leggott then came off to be replaced by Jack Easterbrook with Bristow also having to come off with an achilles tendon problem which gave Jasper Pickersgill his debut appearance in the back row. Elliot Worrall moved from No.8 to the 2nd row with Pickersgill taking to No.8 slot. Two late penalties against Portsmouth saw O. G’s further increase their lead to 20 – 8 before Portsmouth scored their second try through Mark Ovens after excellent work by forwards and backs who combined well with the fullback finishing of a good move wide out. The conversion was unsuccessful but the gap closed to 20 – 13 as the half time whistle went.
Portsmouth started the second half much in the way of the first half with some aggressive play taking the ball into the opposition half. Lee Chandler then had to leave the field with a back problem and he was replaced by Tom Whitehouse. Luke Peters moved from the wing to the centre with Whitehouse taking his spot. Pressure eventually told with O. G’s giving away a penalty which Morgan duly converted taking the score to 20 – 16 with 43 minutes gone. From another lineout steal, this time by Worrall, Portsmouth moved the ball to Pickersgill who made good ground before passing to Parry who finished the move with a good try. This was converted by Morgan and Portsmouth were now in the lead 20 – 23 with about 20 minutes left on the clock. That was Portsmouth’s 3rd try and they were determined to get that all important bonus point. More pressure from Portsmouth saw them keep well in the opposition half with the forwards getting good control. O. G’s were still determined to play their part and their talented backs were trying to break out but the Portsmouth defence held firm but eventually the visitors lost No.10 Farnes for a no arms tackle and a yellow card with about 12 minutes left. Portsmouth seemed to be spurred on by that loss and kept up the attacks. Daz Leggott then came back on to replace Easterbrook. Leggott had already played a full game for the Army on Friday and was still feeling the effects of that encounter. O. G’s had the opportunity to level the scores when Portsmouth were penalised but the kick from just outside the 22 went wide so the score stayed 20 – 23. From an O. G’s attack into the Portsmouth 22 pressure from the visitors backs caused O. G’s to lose control of the ball and a gook hack upfield by Luke Peters saw play taken deep in to the home side’s 22. Portsmouth then had a chance to further increase their lead with a penalty but the kick went wide. Another good run by prop Parry saw him cross the line wide out but as he reached out he lost control of the ball. Farnes then came back on. Portsmouth were then awarded a penalty in front of the posts but they elected for a touch kick in an attempt to gain that important bonus point score. The ensuing line out came to nothing but another penalty against O.G’s saw another kick to touch for a 5 metre lineout to the visitors with only a minute or so remaining. A good catch and drive saw them drive to the line with Will Brock scoring that bonus point try. Again the conversion missed but the score was now 20 – 28 as the final whistle went giving Portsmouth a vital 5 point win.
This was a much improved performance from the last 2 weeks and although penalties were given away, they were only in the low double figures. Parry showed some great ball carrying as did Parks, although he perhaps would be a bit more effective if he took a lower body position into contact. Brock also stood out well. In the backs Ovens again showed up well as did Gates. Tom Hopkins also had some good runs but he needs to have more confidence in his speed. As always skipper Daz Leggott led the team well and got the response he wanted. Pickersgill also caused problems for the opposition whenever he took the ball into contact. At last there were more positives than negatives to be taken from this match, especially after the last couple of performances. This was always going to be a hard fought match with O.G’s having a good pack and some talented backs but Portsmouth held firm with some good defensive work.
This win sees Portsmouth stay in 2nd place on 38 points, just 6 points behind the unbeaten leaders Winchester who beat Teddington in a high scoring match 43 – 31. U.S. Portsmouth are 3rd also on 38 points having beaten Andover away 31 – 38, Battersea Ironsides are 4th. on 36 points having drawn 31 – 31 against Warlingham.
Next week sees a rest from rugby for the 1’s so it gives time for some of those niggles to get better. Next week also sees Portsmouth Vets take on Havant Mariners in the Vets Cup Final at Rugby Camp. K.O. will be 1.00 p.m. so that players and spectators alike can watch England v Australia in the Clubhouse after the match. Portsmouth’s next fixture is at home to Battersea Ironsides on Saturday 1st. December which promises to be a hard fought match.
PARKS, BINGHAM, PARRY.
BROCK, SNOWDEN, WORRALL.
PETERS, CHANDLER, GATES, HOPKINS.
EASTERBROOK, PICKERSGILL, WHITEHOUSE.
Saturday 10th November 2018
RFU Senior Vase
Match Report by Kevin Ricketts
Portsmouth 24 – 10 Bromley
Portsmouth kept their league and cup double aspirations alive with a 24-10 win against Bromley in the RFU Senior Vase.
The home side came out on top in a hard fought game played in horrendous conditions at Rugby Camp.
For the second successive week however Portsmouth were guilty of poor discipline and finished the game with only thirteen players on the pitch.
In their last two games Portsmouth have conceded fifty penalties had two red cards and ten yellow cards.
Coach Adam Long, standing in for the absent Neil McRoberts admits this has to change.
‘ We were our own worst enemies again today,’ said Long.
‘ Once more we gave away a lot of penalties and picked up four yellow cards.
‘ We can’t give that many penalties away in any conditions.
‘ It is something that we seriously need to address.
‘ The coaching staff and the players need to pull together on this one.
‘ We have to cut it out because when we come to the tight games that really count it will really hurt us.
‘ Good teams will punish us.
‘ We were lucky to get away with it.
‘ Fortunately our structure was there for us and it got us through.’
Conditions were made treacherous by a torrential downpour just before the kick-off.
Portsmouth were slow out of the blocks and the Kent visitors were on the front foot in the opening stages.
The home midfield defence were busy early on and were breached in the sixth minutes.
A good break from just outside the home twenty-two and a clever offload saw Bromley go over for a converted try.
It wasn’t until midway through the half that the juggernaut home pack started to apply pressure
On 21 minutes a penalty kick to the corner led to a line-out and hooker Tim Snowdon was driven over from close-in.
In contrast the second try was forged by the three-quarters.
Simon Morgan and Mark Ovens cut through the Bromley midfield and winger Noah Cannon was on hand to take the scoring pass.
‘ I felt once we got going we played the conditions better,’ said Long.
‘ Our half-backs pinned Bromley back by kicking into the corners whenever they could.
‘ Then we let the big heavy boys do all the hard work.
‘ We knew before hand how we played the conditions would either win or lose us the game.
‘ Our scrummage and set piece play was really decent
‘ Our third try came from a fantastic piece of rugby in the conditions.’
Cannon making his debut was on the end of a brilliant move that started inside Portsmouth’s own half.
In the closing stages it was the superb defence of the home side that saw them through.
Next week is away to Old Georgians. They got promoted through the playoffs last season by beating Bognor. This will be the first time we have played each other. Georgians are mid table and have won and lost four games.All support will be welcomed
Saturday 3rd November 2018
Match Report by Jim Dixon
Portsmouth 38 – 24 Andover
Andover kicked off this encounter and Portsmouth soon showed their intent with a fine move started by No.8 Will Brock who passed to Sully Caucau who in turn took the ball from the Portsmouth 22 up to the visitors 22 before being tackled. Minutes later, from a Portsmouth line out, they won good ball to set up a catch and drive which saw No.6 Jack Easterbrook go over for their 1st try wide out. Morgans’ kick was unsuccessful but Portsmouth took the lead 5 – 0 with 2 minutes of the match gone. 5 minutes later Portsmouth were again on the score sheet when full back Mark Ovens gathered a ball just in his half and with some great sidesteps and pace he scored wide out. Morgans’ conversion was true and the lead extended to 12 – 0. Andover then began to get some territory but a good pick and go by them came to nothing when their ball carrier lost the ball in contact. From that scrum Portsmouth made good ground through Brock before Andover gave away a penalty allowing Portsmouth a good touch kick.
Portsmouth won clean ball and quickly moved the ball across the backs and eventually winger Tom Hopkins finish off the move with a good run to score wide out. Morgans’ kick missed and the score was now 17 – 0 after 13 minutes. Portsmouth were beginning to get penalised for offside and eventually hooker Hoolihan had to leave the field for 10 minutes. Portsmouth were soon back on the attack but were dealt another blow when prop Finn Parry was also yellow carded reducing the home side to 13. From an Andover scrum the visitors were penalised, and taking a quick tap penalty Portsmouth moved the ball to winger Caucau who crossed for their 4th. bonus point try. Again Morgans’ conversion was true and the score now stood at 24 – 0 as Hoolihan came back on Shortly after Andover again set up a good attacking move from a quickly taken tap penalty and they crossed for their first try making the score 24 – 5 after 28 minutes. The conversion missed. No.8 Brock then had to leave the field with a knock to his arm and Elliot Worrall went on in his place. Parry was now back on so Portsmouth were back to full strength. From a line out Portsmouth were able to set up a good catch and drive which saw skipper Daz Leggott go over for their 5th. try. Again Morgan was on target and the score moved to 31 – 5 with about 5 minutes of the half remaining. Portsmouth were then themselves under pressure and eventually Andover managed to score from a well taken line out. The conversion was successful and the score was now 31 – 12 as the half time whistle went.
Portsmouth got the second half underway and were soon on the attack again. A good move involving Caucau twice, saw Portsmouth miss a scoring chance with the final pass being knocked on. From a penalty against the visitors, Portsmouth set up a line out just inside the Andover 22. A good catch and drive with excellent work from No.7 Tim Snowden, saw Parry credited with a try which was again converted by Morgan taking the score to 38 – 12 on 44 minutes. Will Brock then came back on and Jack Easterbrook came off. From a good set piece, No.8 Worrall picked up and made about 20 metres before moving the ball out wide but again another scoring chance went begging when the final pass went forward. Worrall was again in the action as he drove for the line but was adjudged to have been held up as he crossed the line. Only a last ditch tackle by Andover prevented Portsmouth from adding to their score as Morgan made a blind side break. More trouble loomed for Portsmouth as the game started to have a lot of ‘niggle’ going on which resulted in Hoolihan receiving his second yellow which turned into a red card so the home side were reduced to 14 for the remainder of the match. Shortly after 2nd row Bristow came off to be replaced by Easterbrook. Portsmouth then had their ranks further reduced when Worrall received a yellow card. The game was now starting to get very scrappy and got even worse when Portsmouth had yet another player yellow carded, but as this was Parry’s second that changed to red and Portsmouth found themselves down to 12 players. Lack of numbers then began to tell as Andover took full advantage and scored close to the posts, taking the score to 38 – 19 as the conversion was successful with about 10 minutes of the match remaining. This was followed shortly after with Simon Morgan receiving another yellow card thus reducing Portsmouth to 11 players on the field. This shortage of numbers enabled Andover to score their 4th.bonus point try which was not converted, taking the final score to 38 – 24 as the final whistle went. Credit must go to prop Ian French, who came out of retirement again and stayed on for the duration of the game.
This was a game which should have seen a far bigger margin of victory for Portsmouth but as the second half wore on and decisions seemed to go against the home side, that caused problems which effected to flow of their game. To score 5 tries in the first half and only 1 in the second shows how the loss of players affected the game. However that said, Portsmouth must address the never ending stream of penalties they continue to give away, not just in this game but through out the season so far. Portsmouth gave away 12 penalties in the first half alone and a similar number in the second half which was the main cause of the yellow cards. They were also guilty of a bit of arguing amongst themselves probably caused by some of the decisions going against them. This win sees Portsmouth move into second place on 33 points, just 6 behind Winchester who beat Old Whitgiftians away 35 – 42. Battersea Ironsides are in 3rd on 33 points with U.S. in 4th. also on 33 points. It is just points difference that is keeping Portsmouth where they are.
Next week sees a rest from league rugby and a return to the Intermediate Cup. Portsmouth are at home to Bromley who play in London South East 3 and are currently lying in 8th. place after beating Hastings & Bexhill 27 – 21.
French, Hoolihan, Parry.
Easterbrook, Snowden, Brock.
Caucau, Chandler, Gates, Hopkins.
Bingham, Worrall, Whitehouse.