Match Report by Jim Dixon
Portsmouth secured their first win of the season with an emphatic 2nd half display, playing against a strong wind, after finishing the first half leading 15 – 10. It could also be said that both the Basingstoke tries came from Portsmouth mistakes, the first from missed tackles and the second from a rather bizarre moment which saw some very erratic handling in which the ball was knocked every which way until it was picked up by the Visitors who scored close to the touch line. Portsmouth scores came from a good drive from the forwards which saw second row Max Clarke dive over to level the scores at 5 apiece. Basingstoke then retook the lead with a well taken try after some missed tackles by Portsmouth taking the score to 5 – 10. Again from strong a Portsmouth forwards drive to the line, scrum half Elliot Davis managed to make a good blind side break and just squeezed at the corner, bringing the scores level at 10 all. More pressure from Portsmouth saw a good kick from fly half Lee Chandler gathered by quick thinking winger Scott Weatherhead who beat the opposition to the touch down taking the score to 15 – 10 as the half time whistle went.
The second half saw Portsmouth playing into the strong head wind but they soon began to pressurize the visitors line with some good handling moves together with strong forward pressure which saw them set up a couple of mauls in which they drove them back 10 – 15 metres. A good scoring chance came to nothing when the final pass was ajudged to have gone forward. After defending their line for a period Portsmouth managed to break out and took the ball from one end to the other with some good handling and eventually the Fijian centre Risi scored his first try in Portsmouth colours, extending the lead to 20 – 10. This gave Portsmouth their bonus point with the 4th. try. More pressure from Portsmouth was forcing Basingstoke to run from their own line and as they passed the ball along the backs quick thinking by Scott Weatherhead saw him intercept a pass and run through unapposed to score their 5th. try taking then lead to 25 – 10. Basingstroke where soon back on the attack but Portsmouth were not letting them score this close to the final whistle and again some good defensive work saw them gain possession and again take the ball the entire length of the field and from a driving maul Max Clarke got his hands on the ball and dived over for the 6th. and final try as the whistle went to end the game.
This was a much better performance in which the entire squad played a vital part, especially in the second half. Second row Rob Gicquel also reached his 100th.league. appearance. Despite some changes in the squad the effort they all put in was very pleasing to the Coaches. However this result will be best served if they can replicate the result next week away to Old Emanuel who now lie in 11th. place behind Portsmouth in 10th with 8 points Old Emanuel lost to Old Georgians 64 – 19 and are on 5 points.
TEAM:-Rhys Bowen, Brad Atkins, Adam Parks-Dare.Rob Gicquel, Max Clarke.Dan Perry, Greg Hoolihan(C) Aaron BeesleyElliot Davis, Lee Chandler.Scott Weatherhead, Rokilibau Ratu Rusiate, Dan Gates, Luke Peters,Olie Samuel.
BENCH:-Ian French, Anthony Fooks, Masirewa Vihame