Jim Dixon writes…
I think this is the first time Portsmouth have welcomed Old Walcountians to Rugby Camp in a League match. It was an extremely windy day but, thankfully, the rain stayed away although it was very cold indeed.
Old Walcountians got proceedings underway playing into the strong wind. A good take by Rob Gicquel saw Portsmouth go on the attack but a kick ahead was quickly gathered by O.W’s and they soon got themselves in the home sides’ 22 . Good defence by Portsmouth saw them take play back towards the half way line. A good counter attack by O.W’s saw them press for their first score but a knock on ended the attack. Portsmouth were not only struggling to win clean line-out ball, partly due to the wind, but were also struggling to get parity at scrum time. Credit to Portsmouth’s defence it was nearly 25 minutes before O.W’s got on the score board through a good backs move which saw them score near the touch line giving them a 0 – 5 lead. 4 minutes later they added to that score with a second unconverted try following some good support play taking the score to 0 – 10. From a Portsmouth scrum, No8 Aaron Beesley broke blind and made about 20 metres, knocking would be defenders out of the way and eventually a Portsmouth player appeared to cross the line to score. The referee initially raised his arm to signal a try then changed his mind and said the ball was held up giving O.W’s a kick from the goal line. This seemed to spur Portsmouth on and they were soon on the attack following another good run by Beesley. The ball was spun wide across the backs and eventually centre Rasi dived over for Portsmouth’s first try making the score 5 – 10 as the half time whistle went.
The second half saw Portsmouth playing into the wind as they got the game underway. 2-3 minutes into the restart O.W’s flyhallf gathered the ball and slipping a couple of tackles scored under the posts taking their lead to 5 -17 as the conversion went over. This seemed to spur Portsmouth on and were soon camped well in the O.W’s 22 and only a knock on prevented them for scoring. A penalty against the home side saw O.W’s clear their lines. However O.W’s were soon back on the attack and their 3rd. score came about 53 minutes into the game with a converted try taking their score to 5 – 24. Another quick score was only averted by some good Portsmouth defence as the visitors crossed the line but Portsmouth managed to hold the ball up. However their next try came on 65 minutes following a kick ahead in which the ball bounced up nicely into the path of the following player who touched down out wide taking the score to 5 – 29. Portsmouth were still not done and another good effort by them was rewarded when Anthony Fooks, now playing No.8 in place of Aaron Beesley, scored a well deserved try converted by Gareth Davies taking the score to 12 – 29, following a good break by fly half Gareth Davies in which the ball went thorough several hands before Fooks finished off the move. O.W’s had the last say as they added to more tries in fairly quick time taking the final score to 12 – 36.
Although a very disappointing result there were moments during the game when Portsmouth put in some really good handling moves and showed good promise. Gareth Davies at flyhallf got his backs moving well on occasions and Aaron Beesley made some good aggressive runs. Brad Atkins also showed some good footwork with ball in hand and centre Rasi played probably his best game yet with some good tackling and direct running. Portsmouth probably played better than the score line might suggest but that is not to say that O.W’s didn’t deserve their win.
Today’s result sees Portsmouth stay in 11th.place on 8 points and O.W’s 4th. on 29 points. Petersfield stay top after beating Old Cranleighans 46 – 5. Next weeks opponents are Warlingham who are in 3rd.,place following their 57 – 0 defeat of Old Georgians.