Portsmouth v Trojans, Saturday 23rd September 2023, Counties 1 League match

Portsmouth v Trojans, Saturday 23rd September 2023, Counties 1 League match

Portsmouth 57-13 Trojans

Match Report by Jim Dixon

Portsmouth came onto the pitch through a tunnel formed by Portsmouth Under 10’s. Games between Portsmouth and Trojans have been close affairs recently and before that they were often our bogey side.  Portsmouth had to make a few changes from last week with injuries and a few players crossing the Channel to watch England v Chile.  Another noted difference is the recently re-vamped old clubhouse which has a well stocked bar and is open on every match day so that spectators can get drinks more easily than climbing upstairs.  This has been led by former player Dave Thomas who is now Club Bar Manager and Events Co-ordinator.

 Trojans got proceedings underway and a penalty by Portsmouth gave Trojans and easy 3 points as the kick was almost in front of the posts close to the 22.  This was after just a few minutes of play.  From the re-start fullback Tawanda Matipano caught the ball and from a good run crossed the line for a try out wide. The conversion just missed but the lead was now 5  –  3 to Portsmouth.  This was Tawanda’s debut match for Portsmouth and he didn’t disappoint. He is known to Coaches and team mates as ‘T’   ‘T’ was soon in action again with another good run and a kick through which was followed up by scrum half Tom Sanderson. The ball bounced of an opponent and Sanderson was able to collect and  cross for their 2nd try.  This time Gareth Davies was on target and the lead was now 12  –  3,  Bryn Rainford then had to leave the field with a broken nose to be replaced by Alex Higson.  A penalty awarded to Trojans for offside was converted so the gap closed to 12  –  6 with about 20 minutes gone.  From a Trojans line out they kicked the ball down field and this was gathered by Portsmouth who then set up a great passing movement involving the 3’s which resulted in Connor Charlton finishing of the move with a try under the posts. Davies was again on target and the lead was now 19  –  6 with about 28 minutes on the clock.  Centre Will Dalziel then had to come off with a hamstring strain and he was replaced by Harvey Field.  Portsmouth were again on the scoreboard following a good handling movement involving forwards and backs which was finished off by No.7 Lee Chandler dotting down under the posts. Davies was again on target and the score was now 26  –  6.  That was Portsmouth’s 4th. try and bonus point with about 5 minutes of the half remaining.  Prop Adam Parks-Dare then came off to be replaced by Liam Avis. A penalty to Trojans saw them kick to touch deep in the Portsmouth half but  Portsmouth managed to steal the resultant throw in and took play back in to the Trojans 22. Shortly after this Portsmouth lost 2nd.row Finn Pary to a yellow card and the half time whistle went shortly after.

The second half saw Portsmouth playing with the wind behind them.  A long kick down field saw Trojans mis-handle and Portsmouth won the resultant line out.  From that lineout Portsmouth set up a good catch and drive and No 8 Aaron Beesley .crossed for a try. Davies was again on target and the lead was now 33  –  6.  A rather loose pass by Trojans  was intercepted by Harvey Field who made good ground before offloading to Josh Howell-Williams who touched down out wide. With the conversion dissecting the posts Portsmouth’s  lead was now 40  – 6.  All this was while Portsmouth were down to 14 players.  Portsmouth were unlucky not to increase that lead when they gathered to ball deep in their half and ‘T’ made good ground before passing to No.9 Sanderson who made further inroads into the opposition half and some more interpassing until the ball was knocked on.  Another great scoring movement saw Portsmouth handling the ball well ,linking backs and forwards and eventually No.6 Fooks crossed for a very good team try. The resultant conversion sailed through the posts taking the lead to 47  –  6.  Trojans then managed to get deep into Portsmouth territory and they eventually managed to cross for a try close to the posts. Their conversion was good and the score was now 47 – 13.  Portsmouth were soon back on the attack and prop Liam Avis crossed for a try out wide. The conversion missed and the score now stood at 52-13.  Yet another good passing movement involving backs and forwards eventually resulted in No.12 Dan Gates crossing for a try.  The conversion missed  and the score was now 57 -13 and the final whistle went shortly after.

This was one of the best performances seen at Rugby Camp for quite a while.  The catalyst for this was Portsmouth’s No15 who showed he was very much a team player, always looking to involve players around him. He is a very balance runner with good pace and stepping ability.  He seemed to inspire those around him with a lot of confidence and as a result we saw plenty of pace and good handling with the ball being moved quickly.  The forwards also acquitted themselves well, especially the front row with Phil Gilliland making good ground when the chance came.  It was also very pleasing to see Adam Parks-Dare back in his rightful position.  Everyone played an important part in the win and that includes the bench.

This win sees Portsmouth climb up the table to 8th.place on 5 points.  Petersfield remain top after their defeat of Alton 102 -0, our opponents next week.  Alton are currently bottom but Portsmouth mustn’t take it that this will be an easy game.   We all know that teams who have a heavy defeat one week can easily bounce back so we must go with the right attitude.