Despite the wet, cold and dreary conditions last weekend, Portsmouth RFC showed what they are truly capable of, increasing their winning streak with a 41-5 win away to Warlingham RFC. S&C rugby correspondent William Payne reports.
After a worrying beginning to the day with poor traffic conditions and a few players out injured, Portsmouth were not in the best states to play a full 80. With a debut from impressive 2nd team player Marcus Winter, and new signing Sonny Clark, there was a lot for the coaching staff to look out for.
Just 5 minutes into the match, Portsmouth managed to win a penalty just outside the Warlingham ‘22, Simon Morgan stepped up, making it 0-3 for a positive start.
After a good spell of play after the restart, new signing Clark managed to move the ball wide to full-back Stewart Davies, who then put no.10 Gareth Richards in for try out wide. After a successful conversion, the score was 0-10 Pompey, with 12 minutes gone.
With excellent play to win a lineout near the try area, Warlingham managed to use wide ball and good hands to cross the ball wide and go in for a well taken try, an unsuccessful conversion, and the score at 5-10.
25 minutes into the match, Portsmouth managed to win a scrum on the ‘5, then after a powerful drive Robert Gicquel managed to touch down for the try, and after the good conversion, it was 5-17 to Pompey.
Due to the high amount of physical contact in a game of rugby, tension and anger can arise, and this saw Gicquel yellow carded shortly after scoring, for not rolling away from the tackle. Warlingham then had a man sin-binned 2 minutes away from the end of the first, allowing Morgan to convert the 3 points in front of the sticks, making it 5-20 going into the second.
After a positive looking first half from Portsmouth, all they needed to do was to power on through the dreary conditions and get the result they deserved. With Gicquel rejoining the team just before the break, Portsmouth were in good stead to start the second half.
From a line-out on Warlingham’s ‘10 metre, Andy Barnes makes a good break, which resulted in Warlingham getting another player yellow carded, giving Portsmouth the penalty. From the resultant scrum, No.8 Luke Richardson drove towards the line scoring Portsmouth their 3rd try. Morgan was successful once again, making it 5-27 16 minutes into the second half.
After scoring 12 points already for the team in kicking, Simon Morgan managed to score another 7 after going over for the team’s 4th try of the game. Of course he converted again, making it 5-34, with 22 minutes of the second gone.
One of Portsmouth main assets is their Forwards who after an impressive drive towards the line off a scrum were awarded a penalty try. And with just a few minutes of the match left, Morgan converted making it 5-41 at the full time whistle.
With an extensive injury list on the Pompey side, a 41-5 win away on a dreary day is an excellent result. Unfortunately, even though a good one and 5 valuable points on the board Portsmouth were not able to climb any higher in the league this week, holding them at 9th place.
Honorable mentions from the match have to go to Simon Morgan, scoring a whooping 21 points through kicks and a try. Also, Anthony Fooks for excellent resilience and power at the breakdown.
I’ll be back with the next rugby read next week when Portsmouth take on K.C.S Old Boys, who won 52-3 last weekend, currently sitting at 5th in the league. If Pompey keep up this good form, I can definitely see a good result coming away from this tough fixture.