Alton v Portsmouth, Saturday 30th September 2023, Counties 1 Hampshire

Alton v Portsmouth, Saturday 30th September 2023, Counties 1 Hampshire

Alton 14 – 42 Portsmouth

Report by Jim Dixon

Portsmouth had to make several changes to last week’s team due to absence and injury although they did have Simon Morgan back for his first League start following treatment on his achilles tendon, a problem that he had from the end of last season.

Portsmouth  played into the wind on pitch that no matter which way you ran, always seemed uphill.  Alton kicked off and Portsmouth gathered and made a good touch kick. Alton won the resultant line out and kicked the ball towards the Portsmouth goal line but Will Dalziel was able to get back and kick the ball over the dead ball line.  This gave Alton a 5 metre scrum and they broke on the blind side and scored the first try close to the posts. The kick was converted and their lead was 7 – 0.  From the restart Portsmouth were awarded a penalty for a no arms tackle and Morgan took a kick at goal from just outside the Alton 22 but into the wind which was blowing diagonally across the pitch.  He was on target and the score was now 7 – 3 with about 8 minutes on the clock.  From the restart Portsmouth set up a good passing movement taking to ball downfield. They then switched to run from left to right and a good move was completed by Will Dalziel who crossed under the posts. Again Morgan was on target with the conversion and Portsmouth now led 7 – 10. Portsmouth were now getting into their stride and a series of handling moves kept them in the Alton half.  Alton then managed to get into the Portsmouth half and from a line out they crossed for their 2nd try under the posts which with the conversion saw them regain the lead 14 – 10.  Both the Alton tries were really as a result of poor tackling which was annoying as they had been doing well in that department during the half.  One or two scoring opportunities where missed by Portsmouth as they kept pressure on the Alton goal line but couldn’t make the final pass hit its target.  Portsmouth then had to take Leo Wall off as he had hit his head on the ground in a tackle and he failed his HIA.  He was replaced by Arthur Layton.  Josh Howell-Williams then made a good break and a neat kick ahead was gathered by Sam Foster who showed good pace for a second row and he crossed out wide for a good score.  Again Morgan was on target and Portsmouth now retook the lead 14 – 17 as the half time whistle went shortly after.

Portsmouth got the second half underway with a change in the front row. Phil Galliland was replaced by Adam Parks-Dare.  Alton had a chance to level the score with a penalty but the kick missed.  A line-out to Alton was over-thrown and picked up by Lee Chandler who passed to Morgan who put in a good touch kick down field.  Chandler then had to come off with a knee injury.  Dan Spencer took his place.  Finn Parry also came off and was replaced by Phil Galliland.  A gook kick ahead by Morgan was gathered well by Will Dalziel who showed good pace to run through the opposition and go round and touch down under the posts. Morgan was on target and Portsmouth now lead by 14 -24. More pressure by Portsmouth forced Alton to give away a penalty which Morgan duly converted to take the score to 14 – 27.   Shortly after all this Portsmouth had a scrum inside the Alton 22 and No.8 Elliott Worrall crossed for their 4th try giving them a bonus point.  Morgan converted and the lead was now 14 – 34.  Shortly after this Worrall was again on the scoreboard with his second try. Surprisingly Morgan missed the conversion and the score was now 14 – 39.   A brilliant one handed interception by Foster saw him take the ball into the Alton half.  Finn Parry then came back on to replace Anthony Fooks.  A good run by Brad Atkins which saw him break through 3 tackles eventually came to nothing with the final pass failing to find its target.  A fine run,  this time by Tom Sanderson saw him make good ground, resulted in a penalty to Portsmouth for offside by Alton.  Morgan took the kick which sailed through the posts taking the score to 14 – 42 as the final whistle went. |The Coaches we a bit annoyed at the 2 converted tries Alton score which were really as a result of poor tackling 

This was another good show by Portsmouth who kept the momentum of last weeks victory going with more quick and crisp handling and linking between forwards and backs.

Portsmouth also showed good pace on the ball and again Connor Charlton also made some good runs, looking to find gaps if possible.  Alex Higson also led the way in how to tackle under the new tackle laws with all his tackles going round the ankles of his opponents.  Unfortunately for Portsmouth he is off to Uni next week.  Next week should see some of this weeks absentees returning which will make for some hard decisions for the coaches when selecting next weeks team.

Their opponents next week will be Eastleigh who lost today to Trojans 24- 18.  Eastleigh are now 9th. place.  

Today’s result sees Portsmouth reach the dizzy heights of 3rd place in the league on 10 points. Andover are 4th.also on 10 points but with a slightly bigger points difference.  Petersfield still head the table with a 34-5 defeat of Andover.  They are on 15 points with Gosport & Fareham 2nd also on 15 points but Petersfield have a better points difference