Counties Hampshire 1, Saturday 10th December 2020
Match report by Jim Dixon
Petersfield 22 – 19 Portsmouth
There were some who were questioning the decision to play this match under floodlights with a 3.00p.m. start bearing in mind the very cold weather conditions.It was generally thought that a 2.00 p.m. start would have been better. And so it was proved although not in the way we expected.
The game started, on a very cold,sunny but almost windless day. Portsmouth were soon on the attack and kept Petersfield in their half for a period. Taking a ball against the head at scrum time Portsmouth set up another attack and a series of penalties against the home side saw Portsmouth with a lineout 5 metres from the try line. However they managed to loose the ball, enabling Petersfield to kick their way out of trouble. From a lineout they won the ball and as it bounced loose it was well picked up by Bryn Rainford who made 20 or so metres before offloading to the supporting Tom Sanderson who carried on to score. Morgans’ kick as successful and Portsmouth led 0 – 7 with about 15 minutes on the clock. Petersfield then took the game to their opponents and eventually from a 5 metre lineout they managed to set up a drive to the line for their first try. This was converted so the score was 7 – 7 about 20 minutes into the match. Portsmouth had a couple of opportunities to re-take the lead through a penalty kick and a dropped goal but both unfortunately missed. However that didn’t stop the visitors from setting up a series of attacks and eventually Morgan forced his way through to score close to the touch line. His conversion was successful and they now led 7 – 14. Shortly after this a Petersfield penalty kick hit the post and was caught on the re-bound by Max Clarke.and he drove to take the ball upfield. Eventually Petersfield got their hands back on the ball and scored out wide. The conversion took the scores back level again at 14 apiece. The half time whistle went shortly after.
With the temperature falling Portsmouth got the second half underway. After a while Portsmouth managed to set up a driving maul out wide and they scored their 3rd.try through Ryan Moore. Morgan as unable to add the extras but they re-took the lead 14 – 19. Portsmouth took the re-start with a penalty as Petersfield were penalised for arguing with the referee over the last score. However it was the home side who scored next from a catch and drive which with a missed conversion took the score to 19 a-piece. Portsmouth hit back and from a good handling move saw them close on the try line only for the final pass to be judged forward. Portsmouth then had another chance to re-take the lead when they were awarded a penalty about 6 metres inside the half way line. This time Morgan was unable to convert so the score stayed even. The Petersfield No.12 who was undoubtedly the difference between the 2 sides showed his class when he took the ball close to his own try line and cut through the defence until he was stopped on the Portsmouth 22. Petersfield were then awarded a penalty in front of the posts which was converted to give them the lead 22 – 19. Bradley Jewer then set up an amazing run taking the ball deep into the home sides’s territory until he was stopped about 5 metres from the try line. Petersfield then took the ball back into the Portsmouth half but were penalised giving Portsmouth a scrum. This is where it all got a bit confusing as the spectators saw the ref talking to both captains and we assumed that he was discussing the playing conditions with a view to abandoning the game on 61 minutes. However it soon transpired that that was not the case as it was the Petersfield captain who was saying it was too dangerous to play on. Both the Portsmouth captain,Max Clarke, and the referee wanted to continue but the home side refused to do so therefore the referee had no real option other than to stop the game. As 61 minutes had lapsed the result would stand. It was noted that the decision by Petersfield had been taken just after they had taken the lead for the first time. A far from satisfactory end to the match.
This result sees Portsmouth remain in 6th.place but now on 29 points. Petersfield move up to 8th.on 22 points. Jersey remain top with a home walk over against Basingstoke There were only 2 games played in our league on Saturday.
Next week sees Portsmouth back at Rugby Camp against Gosport and Fareham. 2.00 p.m.kick off.
TEAM: RHYS BOWEN, BRAD ATKINS, RYAN MOORE
BRYN RAINFORD, SAM FOSTER,
MAX CLARKE(C), OLLY BOWLES, OLLIE SIMPSON.
TOM SANDERSON, GARETH DAVIES.
DUNCAN STEED, SIMON MORGAN, DAN GATES, BRAD JEWER,
BENCH: TOM SMITH, CAM MCGUIGHAN, LEE CHANDLER.