Brighton II v Portsmouth, Pre-season Friendly, Sat 2nd September 2023

Brighton II v Portsmouth, Pre-season Friendly, Sat 2nd September 2023

Match Report by Jim Dixon

Portsmouth travelled to Brighton for their penultimate pre-season warm up match.  This was going to be their toughest fixture to date, especially as it transpired that Brighton had 5 or 6 players who had been hoping to take part in their 1st.XV match against Bracknell which was being played at Brighton.

Portsmouth kicked off and were soon putting Brighton under pressure.  The forwards got a good drive going towards the Brighton line but the ref deemed the ball to have been held up.  Shortly after,  a quickly taken tapped penalty by Portsmouth saw the ball spun wide and Connor Charlton crossed for the first try of the match.  Tom Sanderson was on target with the conversion and Portsmouth led 0  –  7 with about 20 minutes gone.   Portsmouth has a chance to increase the lead with a penalty but the kick drifted wide. Another try chance went begging for the visitors with a knock-on just short of the try line. After a bit of pressure by Brighton they scored their first try which was converted bringing the scores level at 7 a’piece.   This try seemed to waken Brighton up and they started to put pressure on Portsmouth and scored their second converted try just before half time giving them the lead 14-  7.

The second half started with Brighton very much on the attack and soon added to their first half score with a converted try taking the score to 21 – 7.  This was followed by another converted try taking the score to 28 – 7.  Portsmouth were now tiring after the hard work they put into the first half and Brighton were able to take advantage of that and 2 more converted tries took the score to 42 – 7.  To their credit though Portsmouth didn’t give up on their efforts and they were finally rewarded from a catch and drive at a line out just inside the Brighton 22.which resulted in Bradley Atkins crossing the try line.. The conversion missed and the final whistle went with the result a 42- 12 win to Brighton.  Brighton were obviously helped by having some 1stXV fringe players on hand and also by having a much larger squad  so could replace players more frequently.  The effort of the Portsmouth  pack in particular was good to see as they were by no means disgraced.   There was also good running in the backs which was good to see.   They did leave 2 or 3 tries out there which would have made the final score a bit more respectable but the coaches have plenty to look forward to.  The Portsmouth half backs took a bit of time to gel but that improved as the game went on.  The whole squad got good game time and all aquitted them selves well.

Next week sees the last pre-season match at home to Basingstoke.