Jim Dixon writes
Portsmouth travelled to Warlingham on a bitterly cold and windy day but at least the sun was shining. This has not been a very happy hunting ground for Portsmouth over the last few seasons and today proved to be no exception, losing 47 – 7.
Portsmouth got proceedings underway and were soon on the attack after winning a penalty in their half which saw flyhalf Gareth Davies place a lovely touch kick on the Warlingham 5 metre line. Portsmouth strove hard for a try but good defence by the home side kept them at bay and eventually a missed pass was picked up by Warlingham and they kicked up field which then saw Portsmouth defending mightily and eventually Davies managed to clear their lines with a kick to the halfway line. With the Warlingham backs posing some problems for Portsmouth they crossed for their first try after about 15 minutes giving them a 7 – 0 lead. Portsmouth then put in a good attacking move but Warlingham managed to steal the ball and although they crossed the Portsmouth try line they lost control of the ball going over to score. However they were soon back on the attack and scored their second try near the touch line. The conversion missed and the score was now 12 – 0. Their third score came from a Portsmouth 5 metre scrum in which Warlingham pushed the visitors over the try line and managed to touch down. The conversion took the score to 19 – 0. Just before half time they scored their forth converted try to lead by 26 – 0. To make matters worse for Portsmouth they then lost Gareth Davies to a yellow card for a no arms tackle. The half time whistle followed shortly after,
The second half got under way and Portsmouth put in some good defensive hits and then began to string some good passages together but they just couldn’t get over the try line.
Warlingham were unable to take advantage of Portsmouth’s yellow card and 8 minutes into the second half Portsmouth were back to a full compliment. Warlingham had to wait until the 64th minute for their next score which took the lead to 33 – 0. Another converted try by Warlingham took their lead to 40 – 0. With about 20 minutes remaining Portsmouth then got prop Ian Douglas on to the field who at the age of 52 is the oldest Portsmouth player to make a 1st XV appearance, Ian said after the match that his opposite number called him Grandad to which Ian replied ‘I may be Grandad but you won’t move me at scrum time’ which proved to be the case! Portsmouth were still looking for that first score and eventually a good run by the 3’s saw debut centre Myles Whittenham make good ground before passing to winger Tom Hopkins who raced clear to score wide out. A difficult touch line conversion by Gareth Davies took the score to 40 – 7 with about 10 minutes left. Warlingham had the final say with a try on the stroke of full time giving them a 47 – 7 victory.
Portsmouth to their credit never stopped trying, but against a much bigger and well drilled team, was always going to be hard work.
Petersfield beat Andover 19 – 41, and remain top, Alton beat Old Emanual 63 – 19, and next weeks bopponents, Old Cranleighans beat Old Georgians 46 – 7.
Warlingham remain in 3rd place and Old Cranleighans are in 9th. with Portsmouth in 11th place.