Portsmouth University student William Payne looks back at the Portsmouth vs London Cornish game on 22nd October.
Portsmouth Rugby Club rose to 10th in the league this weekend, an improvement on its 11th place the previous weekend after losing 40-32 to worthy opponents London Cornish. Even though the team managed to put over 32 points with tries from Damian Gibbs, Jackson Clark, Curtis Barnes and 11 points worth of penalties and conversions from fly-half Simon Morgan, it still wasn’t enough to snatch a win.
After a positive start from Pompey, going 12-0 up after 14 minutes, Cornish scored 20 points through a collaboration of tries, penalties and conversions, bringing it to 15-20 after half an hour.
However, on the brink of the half, Flanker Jackson Clark managed to bundle over the line, making it 22-20 after a successful conversion by Simon Morgan, leaving Pompey on top going into the break.
At half time, Manager Ian Alvey and Coach Ben Dudley must have rallied the troops to dig deep and power on throughout the game, considering 80 minutes of semi-professional rugby is no easy feat.
The start of the second half shows the resilience we have in the squad – a powerful start with a converted try in the 44th minute by Damian Gibbs making it 29-20.
Unfortunately, from here on Cornish must have dug deeper, managing to put another 5 points on us in the 46th making it 29-25, and then in the 51st minute an unconverted try from Cornish made it 29-30, close battle.
After a dry-spell of points from both sides, a drop goal is all we needed from Morgan to bring it to 32-30 in the 56th.
Panic stations were then in full force – with 14 minutes left in the game, a hard fight from both teams made the game a thriller. LCRFC manage to score an unconverted try in the 76th, and then another in the final play of the game, making the overall score an unfortunate 40-32.
Overall, PRFC can be proud of the valiant performance, seeing as London Cornish are currently sitting at 1st in the league, with an unbeaten run of 7 games. Even though on the day we came away with just the bonus point, coming close on many occasions to beating the best team in the league (statistically) is a great achievement for the club, and signals a promising season ahead for Pompey RFC.