Portsmouth vs Gosport & Fareham, Saturday 23rd March 2024

Portsmouth vs Gosport & Fareham, Saturday 23rd March 2024

Portsmouth started off the day with a Past Players lunch in which 125 former members turned up for a fantastic day at the Club.  Lots of memories stirred no doubt and some a bit exaggerated I’m sure.

A few changes from last week saw Cam McGuigan at No.9, Leo Wall in the centre and Tim Rollett at No.15.  Phill Galliland was also back in the front row. 

Play got underway with Portsmouth kicking off.  They had lost the toss and were having to play with the wind in the first half.  The first few minutes saw both teams vying for territory with Gosport probably gaining most. However a good break from a scrum by Cam McGuigan saw him make a break and race through before kicking downfield.  Gosport were able to gather but eventually Portsmouth secured possession and the ball was spun through several hands before finishing with Harvey Field who crossed out wide.  The kick by Tim Rollett just went wide and the score was 5-0 after about 5 minutes.

Following a lost lineout Portsmouth were then penalised for a high tackle giving Gosport a kick at goal. This was successful and the score was now 5-3 with about 10 minutes on the clock.  It was then Portsmouth’s turn to be awarded a penalty as Gosport were penalised for handling in a ruck. Tim Rollett was on target and the score moved to 8-3 with about 15 minutes gone. 

A good run by Connor Charlton saw him take the ball deep in his own 22 and into the Gosport half.  Another good move by Portsmouth saw Gosport attempt an interception which resulted in them being penalised and a yellow card to the player concerned as he was adjudged to have knocked it forward. From the resultant lineout Portsmouth managed to loose the ball.  With penalties being given against both sides it was Gosport who benefitted in the end when Portsmouth were again penalised for a high tackle. The kick was successful and the score was now 8-6  after about 30 minutes.  Another lost Portsmouth lineout followed by yet another high tackle eventually saw the half time whistle go with the score still 8-6.

 The second half started with Portsmouth making some changes. Alex Higson came off to be replaced by Bryn Rainford, Oli Avis has gone to No.10 with Chandler coming off, Fooks also came off to be replaced by Adam Parks-Dare in the front row.  Portsmouth were soon on the score board when  a good break by Oli Avis saw him make good ground before passing to Beesley who had come up in support. He was able to run round and score close to the posts.  The kick missed and Portsmouth now led 13-6.

Shortly after, Portsmouth lost Beesley to a yellow card.  A penalty against Portsmouth for offside saw Gosport take a kick at goal taking the score to 13-9. Another penalty against Portsmouth saw Gosport awarded a scrum 5 metres from the try line, They managed to secure the ball and drove Portsmouth back over their line to score thus taking the lead 13-14 as the conversion missed. 

Gosport were using the wind at their backs to greater advantage than Portsmouth had in the first half. They managed to pin the home side in their half on several occassions. A period of pressure saw Portsmouth having to defend their line but eventually Gosport scored through one of their second row players, this took the score to 13-21 as the conversion was good. 

Prior to this score Portsmouth had lost hooker Brad Atkins with a bruised elbow. His place was taken by Fooks and Parks-Dare went back on to the front row.  A chapter of errors by Portsmouth  saw them having to defend deep in their half and with the clock approaching full time.  Portsmouth were trying to close the score to at least gain a losing bonus point and a good run by Leo Wall saw him close in on the try line only to be tap tackled thus preventing a certain score.  The full time whistle went shortly after with the final score 13-21.  

This was a very disappointing result for Portsmouth who for the second week running had lost a game they should have won. Unfortunately they were the architects of their own downfall on both occasions.   They could have used the conditions in the first half more to their advantage than they did.  The lineout is still a source of concern with long throws often going to the opposition.  They defended well on occasions and they also looked good when on the attack with the 3’s going well but poor handling/passing let them down at times.  

This result sees Portsmouth remain in 5th. place on 52 points, Gosport are 4th. on 59 points.  Ellingham & Ringwood are in 6th.on 48 points. The next fixture for Portsmouth in Saturday 6th. April against Petersfield again at Rugby Camp. This should be the final League fixture.  

Portsmouth 2nds had a dramatically close loss away to Christchurch 1st. 22-21 and the 3rds. had an W/O against Christchurch 2nds who were unable to raise a team.