Match Report by Jim Dixon
Petersfield 57 – 12 Portsmouth
This season’s league started with an away trip up the A3 to Petersfield. Petersfield have managed to secure the services of two former National 2 players as player/coaches. Both were playing for Worthing last season who finished the league in 4th.place. Liam Perkins, No8, captain of Worthing last season, and Matt McClean, fullback last season and with one of the highest points tally’s in the league, Perkins also captained Hampshire last season.
5 minutes into the game and Petersfield opened the scoring with a converted try from a 5 metre line-out and catch and drive 7 – 0. Shortly after Sam Olie saved an almost certain try with an excellent tackle. As Petersfield recycled the ball more good defensive work by Portsmouth kept them out and eventually they won a penalty, enabling them to clear their lines. However the respite was short lived as Petersfield scored another converted try taking the score to 14 – 0. The Petersfield backs were now getting into the game and with plenty of pace they scored a try taking the score to 19 – 0. This was extended to 26 – 0 when they picked up a loose ball to score a converted try after about 20 minutes. Portsmouth were beginning to get more possession of their own but were let down by the final pass not going to hand. A cross kick to the touch line just missed the Portsmouth winger and from the resulting line-out Petersfield ran the ball up field to score a converted although a couple of the passes looked a bit suspect. 33 – 0. Another try took the score to 38 – 0. From the restart Petersfield No 8 caught the ball and showing his class made plenty of ground deep into the Portsmouth 22 before offloading to a supporting player who scored out wide taking the score to 43 – 0 as the half time whistle went.
From the start of the second half Portsmouth winger Brad Jewer gathered a loose ball and stepped his way through to the try line for Portsmouth to at last get on the score board. 43 – 5. Portsmouth were now attacking with a bit more energy and were managing to keep Petersfield in their own half for long periods of play but couldn’t make that break due to good defence from Petersfield . With about 15 minutes remaining Petersfield scored their first try of the second half with a rather rare breakout taking their lead to 50 – 5. Portsmouth were soon back on the attack and did manage to drive over the try line but were adjudged to have been held up. With the final minutes of the game closing in Petersfield scored their last try taking the score to 57 – 5. Portsmouth kept their efforts up and from a good cross kick by Gareth Davies the ball fell into second row Sam Foster’s hands as he was running full tilt. He sped through the defence to score close to the posts giving Gareth Davies an easier conversion and taking the final score to 57 – 12. In some ways this was a strange ending as everyone thought that after a the first half score Portsmouth would struggle to contain their opponents but as the half progressed it was Portsmouth who were having then better of the territory and when the final whistle went the second half score was only 14 – 12.
Petersfield’s ambition this season is to win this league as the coaches are on a 2 year contract. On this showing they are going to be there or thereabouts. Following today’s game Portsmouth will be without Sam Olie for a while with a knee injury and also Jordan Cracknell with a broken hand which is going to take a lot longer to mend.
Next week sees Portsmouth at home to Trojans who lost to Gosport & Fareham 32 – 30 so that looks as though it is going to be another hard game.
TEAM: PHIL GILLILAND, BRAD ATKINS, ANTHONY FOOKS.
SAM FOSTER, BRYN RAINFORD.
ELLIOTT WORRALL, LEE CHANDLER, AARON BEESLEY.
TOM SANDERSON, GARETH DAVIES.
BRAD JEWER, DAN GATES,SAM OLIE, CONNOR CHARLTON.
JOSH HOWELL WILLIAMS.
BENCH: LIAM AVIS, JORDAN CRACKNELL, LEO WALL.