Portsmouth vs Alton, Counties Hampshire 1, Sat 26th Nov 2023

Portsmouth vs Alton, Counties Hampshire 1, Sat 26th Nov 2023

PRFC 15 – 19 Alton

Match Report by Jim Dixon

Portsmouth welcomed Alton 1st XV to  Camp for the first time for a few years.  With a rather cold stiff breeze blowing the day started with prop Rhys Bowen attaining his 100th.game for Portsmouth 1st.XV. His original position was No.8 but he decided a couple of seasons ago to have a go at loose head prop in an effort to prolong his rugby life!  A  presentation was made to him by Club President Nigel Morgan in the Clubhouse following the game.  Current No.8 Ollie Simpson has reached 20 1st XV games and was also included in the presentation.

Portsmouth playing into the stiff breeze, started the match and the game see-sawed between the 22’s for a while.  Alton were beginning to put some good moves together and eventually they managed to score out wide with the conversion missing. The score was 0  –  5 after about 12 minutes.  Shortly after this Portsmouth lost wing forward Elliott Worrall with an injury to his wrist. His place was taken by Sam Foster. Only some good defensive work from Portsmouth kept Alton at bay but a yellow card for Simon Morgan certainly didn’t help their cause.  Alton then managed to create an overlap and scored under the posts. the conversion was successful and they now led 0  –  12 on about 25 minutes.  Certainly the Alton play wasn’t reflecting their league position but it transpired that they had several players returning who hadn’t been available at the start of the season.   It was then Alton’s turn to loose a player to a yellow card and Portsmouth certainly made the most of it following a 5 metre line out.  They set up a catch and drive which was finished off by No.8 Ollie Simpson touching down out wide.  Gareth Davies was on target with a tricky kick and the score was now 7  –  12. Portsmouth then had to make another change  when Lee Chandler had to leave the field due to feeling unwell.  His place was taken by Connor Charlton who went to the wing with Dan Gates moving from there to the centre.  Alton were then aided by a lucky bounce of the ball which was kicked towards the Portsmouth try line but bounced away from a defender and into the arms of an Alton player who touched down under the posts. The conversion was good and gap was now 7  –  19. The half time whistle went shortly after.

Alton got the second half underway and shortly after Portsmouth set up a very good handling move following a kick ahead by Davies.  Portsmouth spun the ball wide and the move was eventually finished off by Sam Foster. with the kick just missing. The score was now 12  –  19.  Ollie Simpson came off shortly after to be replaced at No.8 by Aaron Beesley.    Duncan Steed then set up a good attack, showing plenty of pace but a desperate tackle took him into touch.  Portsmouth kept up the pressure and were awarded a penalty which Simon Morgan was able to convert taking the score to 15  –  19.  Portsmouth kept up the pressure but just couldn’t get through the Alton defence with again Duncan Steed showing good speed.  Another promising Portsmouth move came to nothing when they were penalised for not releasing the ball after the tackle. Yet another opportunity was lost when the ball got knocked on by Portsmouth and the final whistle went with a win for the visitors 15  –  19.  Portsmouth did manage a losing bonus point.  This loss sees Portsmouth slip down 1 place to 7th. on 24 points with Alton still in bottom position on 12 points. 

Next week sees Portsmouth at home again against Trojans who lost to Bournemouth 2nds. 18  –  10   Trojans are in 8th. place on 19 points.  Jersey remain top and undefeated after bearing Eastleigh 66  –  7.  Portsmouth still have the dubious honour of scoring the most points against them in their 21   –  57 loss.

Don’t forget that next weeks matches will start at 2.00 p.m.