Match Report by Jim Dixon
This was a game between 2nd from top and 2nd from bottom and what a game it was despite the attrocious conditions. The Referee decided that the 1’s pitch was unplayable so we moved to the Vets pitch which was marginally better. Although it was windy at least the rain, for the most part, stayed away until the final few minutes. This was Portsmouth’s first game sine the victory over Old Cranleighans on 11th.November as the following weeks game v Trojans was postponed due to Covid which was a great pity as they were looking forward to that match to keep the momentum going.
Portsmouth played into a cross wind and were soon on the attack, keeping Weybridge deep in their half. Following a good touch kick from Gareth Davies and a hard run from No.8 Aaron Beesley Portsmouth crossed for what they thought was their first try but the Ref deemed the ball held up. With the majority of the game played in the Weybridge half, Portsmouth kept the pressure on and soon crossed again only for the Ref to again deny them a score. Rather against the run of play Weybridge then managed to string a good attack together and their open side broke through to score wide out. The conversion missed but they now led 0 – 5. with about 30 minutes played and that was how the first half ended with both sided throwing the ball around despite the conditions.
The second half started with Weybridge upping the tempo a bit but good defence by the home side kept them at bay. By now the ball was like a cake of soap and the pitch was also cutting up so both teams were having difficulty in holding onto the ball and keeping on their feet. Portsmouth were soon back on the attack and a good move involving the backs saw centre Ravudolo make his way through the defence to score midway out. Gareth Davies was on target with the conversion and Portsmouth were now in the lead 7 – 5 with about 7 minutes of the re-start. Both sided were still moving the ball around but the Weybridge pack were proving a bit of a handful. Despite this, Portsmouth were able to take the ball from the base of the scrum whilst being driuven back, thanks mainly to the efforts of No.8 Beesley. However it was Weybridge who scored next with an unconverted try giving them the lead 7 – 10 with nearly 66 minutes played. 6 minutes later they were again on the scoreboard with a converted try thus extending their lead to 7 – 17. Portsmouth were still in the hunt and some good runs saw them take play into the opposition half but just unable to complete the move. With about 5 minutes of the match remaining Portsmouth fell further behind when Weybridge scored their 4th. bonus point try. Portsmouth were still not giving up and a good attack saw them drive deep into Weybridge territory and eventually their efforts were rewarded when Evan Watts crossed for a well taken try converted by Davies as a drop goal to try and get the match re-started quickly as time was now against them. The score was now 14 – 24 and the pressure was on to get one more score to at leastgain a losing bonus point. but the Ref’s whistle beat them to it and the final score was 14 – 24.
This was an exciting game played in atrocious conditions and credit must go to both teams for the way they played the game. Although both teams had problems holding on to the ball in the tackle they never stopped trying to play open rugby. By the time of the final whistle it was quite difficult to distinguish the two packs as their shirts were covered with mud.
Next week sees Portsmouth travel to Petersfield for their return fixture. This will again be a 2.00 p.m kick off.