Jim Dixon writes…
With no senior league matches today it was left to Portsmouth Vets to fly the Portsmouth flag with a rearranged fixture against a Gosport & Fareham 3rd.XV as the home side’s original opponents, Winchester Vets, called off on Tuesday as they were unable to raise a team.
What a difference a week makes, after the lashing rain and gale force wind of last week today saw a lovely calm day with plenty of warm sunshine for the good crowd of spectators to bask in.Gosport got proceedings underway but Portsmouth were soon on the attack and 5 minutes into the game from a 5 metre Portsmouth scrum Jamie McLaughlin took the ball and dummied to go open but stepped inside with a clear run in for their first try. The conversion narrowly missed and they took a 5 – 0 lead on 5 minutes, Play went from end to end with the Portsmouth scrum pretty dominant but eventually the speedy Gosport backs put a good move together to score their first try which was converted, giving them a 5 – 7 lead on 15 minutes. After more Gosport pressure they were able to increase that lead with another converted try taking the score to 5 – 14. Portsmouth were soon back in scoring mode when from a solid scrum second row Scott Mckecknie crossed for a try to close the gap to 10 – 14. Gosport then extended their lead with a try on 36 minutes, taking the score to 10 – 19. Portsmouth were then able to close the gap following a good scrum which resulted in No.8 Dan Stoneman dotting down. The conversion hit the post but bounced out,. The score was now 15 – 19. A penalty to Gosport from almost in front of the posts saw them extend their lead to 15 – 22 as the half time whistle went.
Portsmouth got the second half underway and began pressing the Gosport line but eventually Gosport managed to work the ball upfield through their backs and scored wide out taking the score to 15 – 27. More good work from the Portsmouth Vets saw Chris Leggett cross for a try which was converted to close the gap to 22 – 27. Portsmouth continued to have the upper hand in the forwards but the younger and speedier Gosport backs were causing some problems and they soon were able to extend their lead with another try to 22 – 32. They soon added yet another converted try extending their lead to 22 – 39. Portsmouth were not to be denied however and good pressure saw them add a converted try by Chris Hart, closing the gap to 29 – 39. With time running out Portsmouth again pressurised the Gosport line and a fine try which was converted closed the gap to a tantalising 36 – 39 with only a few minutes remaining. The scorer remained anonymous! . Portsmouth tried desperately to secure the winning try but the referee’s whistle beat them thus closing what had been a very enjoyable and entertaining game which was enjoyed by a good crowd with a lot of banter going around. Portsmouth certainly held the upper hand in the forwards but had problems containing the younger and speedier Gosport backs.. All in all a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon in the sunshine although I think the players were feeling the heat by the final whistle.
Next week sees a resumption of League matches with Portsmouth 1st XV taking on Petersfield at Rugby Camp.