Match Report by Jim Dixon
Portsmouth travelled to Gosport to resume their battles with Gosport & Fareham after a couple of seasons being in different leagues. These games always resulted in keenly fought contests and this one provided just that. Portsmouth were without 5 players from last week due to work commitments, injuries, family reasons and a wedding. That said it was pleasing to note that the replacements all acquitted themselves very well,especially debut making scrum half Tom Sanderson who joined us this week.
Portsmouth got the match underway and were able to gather their kick but a knock on by them saw a scrum to Gosport. With both teams vying for territory it was Portsmouth who were forced into some pretty desperate defence but eventually the pressure told and Gosport crossed for the first try of the match. The conversion was secured and they led 7 – 0 after about 12 minutes. Portsmouth then managed to set up their own attack and although they crossed the line the Ref blew up for a knock on before the ball was grounded. With play swinging between the 22’s it was Portsmouth who scored next with a well taken penalty by centre Simon Morgan closing the gap to 7 – 3 with about 20 mins on the clock. More pressure from Portsmouth saw them set up a good driving maul which Gosport pulled down, resulting in a penalty try to the visitors and a yellow card to Gosport. Portsmouth were now leading 7 – 10. Shortly after this Portsmouth were awarded another penalty which Morgan duly converted taking their lead to 7 – 13. With about 2 minutes of the half remaining Gosport scored a try, closing the gap to 12 – 13. A third penalty by Morgan saw Portsmouth increase their lead to 12 – 16. With time running out Gosport managed to score their 3rd. try right out near the touch line. The conversion saw them regain the lead 19 – 16 as the half time whistle went.
The second half saw Portsmouth now playing with the benefit of a breeze behind them. Shortly after the resumption Portsmouth set up a good passing movement which eventually saw debut scrum half Tom Sanderson cross wide out for a good try. Again Morgan was on target with his conversion which saw Portsmouth re-take the lead 19 – 23. This was followed by a penalty against Portsmouth for a high tackle which closed the gap to 22 – 23. Gosport then further increased their lead with a try after some good handling. The conversion missed and the score was now 27 – 23. Portsmouth pressure resulted in yet another penalty which again Morgan was able to convert, closing the gap to 27 – 26. Gosport were soon back on the attack and a good passing movement saw them cross for a converted try under the posts taking their lead to 34 – 26. More Gosport pressure resulted in their 6th. try,unconverted, taking the score to 39 – 26 This seemed to stir Portsmouth into a series of attacks on the Gosport line and as full time approached it seemed as though Portsmouth would at least gain a bonus point as Sam Foster cut a good line through the defence to score wide out but to everyone’s dismay he dropped the ball in the act of touching down and the final whistle went with a victory to the home side 39 – 26.
This was a typical derby match with both sides putting in some big tackles. Simon Morgan was voted Man of the Match for the second time this season.
As a result of this loss Portsmouth drop to 6th.place with Eastleigh on top with 4 wins Next week sees Portsmouth at home to Jersey Athletic who are in second place with 3 wins from 3. They were awarded a home walk-over against Petersfield. Jersey Athletic is Jersey’s second team with their 1’s top of the table in the Championship with 3 wins from 3, Please note that kick off for this match will be 2.00 p.m.
TODAY’S TEAM: RHYS BOWEN, BRAD ATKINS, RYAN MOORE.
BRYN RAINFORD, MAX CLARKE (C).
ELLIOTT WORRALL, MURRAY HOBSON. OLLIE SIMPSON.
TOM SANDERSON, GARETH DAVIES.
ALI MCDONALD, SIMON MORGAN, JOSH HOWELL-WILLIAMS, JASHAN SOLANKI.
BENCH: IAN FRENCH, SAM FOSTER, LEE CHANDLER.