Match report by Jim Dixon
Andover 18 – 13 Portsmouth
Portsmouth travelled to Andover for their 5th League match. Not the easiest pitch to play on with a slope running to length of the pitch towards the clubhouse. Portsmouth had to make changes to the side that played last week and had a completely new front row. They also welcomed Kallen Wilke for his debut 1st XV appearance having impressed last week for the 2’s.
It was a colder day than last week with a stuff breeze blowing down the pitch.
Portsmouth lost the toss and had to play down hill in the first half. With the benefit of the slope Portsmouth soon had Andover defending their line. A couple of penalty kicks ,the first of which just fell short of the posts and the second actually hit the upright but bounced back into the field of play but Portsmouth were able to secure possession and a good drive from Finn Parry saw him cross for their first try. Morgan was on target with the conversion and they led 0 – 7. Andover were soon on the attack and eventually a penalty saw them close the gap to 3 – 7. Andover, through their pack, were able to control possession and a high tackle by Portsmouth saw them close the gap to 6 – 7. Portsmouth were soon back on the attack when full back, Brad Jewer fielded a kick and side stepping his opponent, he set of on a good run and linked well with Harvey Field who also made good ground but was eventually tap tackled after a run of about 20 metres. Portsmouth were penalised for not releasing after the tackle. they were putting some good moves together but just could not make that final breakthrough. Better tackling could have prevented at least one try. Eventually the half time whistle went.
The second half started with Brad Jewer coming off to be replaced by Harry Drew, He went to No.9 with Tom Sanderson going to No.15. Lee Chandler also came off to be replaced by Henri Davies at No.7 and Ryan Bosher replaced Finn Parry in the 2nd.row. Andover now with the benefit of the slope set up an attack which went almost the length of the field and resulted in them scoring a try under the posts. The conversion was good and the lead was now 13 – 7. From a line-out Portsmouth lost the ball but Andover were penalised for being offside. Morgan took a kick at goal which was successful and the gap was now 13 -10. A good run from Portsmouth saw them take play from one 22 to the other but again just couldn’t make that final break through. A scoring chance by Andover came to nothing through some good defensive work by Portsmouth who eventually won a penalty enabling Morgan to put in a very good touch kick into the Andover half. Portsmouth then lost prop Liam Avis to a yellow card. From that penalty Andover set up a line-out just inside the Portsmouth 22 and a quick throw to the front saw them run through virtually unopposed for a try out wide. The conversion missed and the score was now 18 – 10. With time running out for Portsmouth they were awarded a penalty which Morgan was able to convert making the score 18 – 13. The final whistle went shortly after with some frustration from Portsmouth as they could have won this encounter if they had made the most of their chances. They did however get a bonus point for being within 7 points of Andover. The main difference between the two side was the Andover pack who were heavier than Portsmouth. That’s not to say that the Portsmouth pack were overwhelmed, far from it. Portsmouth’s backs were also in good form with Jewer, Charlton and debut maker Kallen Wilke showing up well. In the forwards Finn Parry also had a good game and seems to be enjoying life in the second row rather than prop and his 2nd row partner Foster also showed some pace with ball in hand. One of the problems of today’s match was the rather constant complaining to the referee which rather turned him against Portsmouth.
Today’s result sees Portsmouth slip to 5th. place just behind Andover who started the day in 3rd. Next week’s opponents Havant 2nd’s leapfrog into 3rd. after their away win against Eastleigh 30 – 36. Petersfield stay on top with Gosport & Fareham 2nd.
TEAM: LIAM AVIS, GREG HOOLIHAN, ANT.FOOKS.
SAM FOSTER, FINN PARRY,
AARON BEESLEY, LEE CHANDLER, ELLIOTT WORRALL.
TOM SANDERSON, SIMON MORGAN.
CONNOR CHARLTON, DAN GATES, KALLEN WILKE, HARVEY FIELD.
BENCH: RYAN BOSHER, HENRI DAVIES, HARRY DREW.
Portsmouth Man of the Match