A disappointing weekend for Pompey as they fell 2 points short of a draw against worthy rivals K.C.S Old Boys. Keen to keep their winning streak burning, Portsmouth welcomed the opposition at home with high hopes. S&C rugby correspondent William Payne reports.
After a very disappointing start from Portsmouth, KCS came straight off the back with very good attacking play. After a loose line out on KCS’s 10 metre line, Pompey were on the back foot from a fast paced back move, seeing the opposition go over under and making it 7-0 after the successful kick. 0-7, 7 minutes gone.
Portsmouth managed to reduce the deficit, through Morgan slotting home a penalty after KCS had a tackler not roll away. 3-7, 10 minutes.
20 minutes into the game and after a successful scrum KCS managed to bundle under the posts, making it 3-14 after the conversion. Never the best of sights in a rugby match, unfortunately a scuffle broke out between the two packs, which resulted in a Portsmouth getting a penalty right beneath the posts. After electing a kick at goal, the deficit was reduced to 6-14 with 10 minutes left of the half.
After a flurry of mistakes from Portsmouth, KCS elected to kick for 3 points from a penalty, and managed to increase their lead to 6-17, 33 minutes played. 11 points down at half time, Portsmouth needed to pull something from the top draw to get that bonus point at least. The second half was lining up to be a good one.
After electing to take a scrum from a penalty on the KCS 10 metre, no.8 Luke Richardson broke out wide, then after good link up play with Hamish Laybourne, Anthony Fooks managed to go in wide making it 11-17 after a missed conversion. 49 minutes played.
Even though Portsmouth then played on in the KCS half, they unfortunately gave away a scrum on the KCS 22’ metre. After good play from the opposition, they won a penalty on the Pompey 10 metre line. After choosing the posts, they converted, making the score 11-20, 63 minutes gone.
So far, it seemed that every time Portsmouth took one step forward, KCS took two. After good breakaway play, Laybourne fell short of the line, but the ball managed to find its way to centre Gareth Richards. Richards offloaded to Fooks who went over the posts for his second of the game. After Morgan slotting home the conversion, the score was now 18-20.
Finally, Portsmouth were in front for the first time in the game, with 10 minutes remaining. Full back Stewart Davies cut through the opposition defence, and a good pass saw Tom Whitehouse score out wide. Another successful kick from Morgan saw Pompey winning 25-20, but they were reaching the hardest part of the game. To hold off a narrow lead against worthy opponents in the final 10, and plagued by injuries, with players depleting, the team had to dig deep.
After poor organisation in the line out, KCS managed to break through, scoring out wide, and making it 25 all. Yet, with a good kick from the KCS fly half, they managed to clinch the extra 2 points, making it 25-27 at the final whistle.
Overall, an unfortunate result for Portsmouth, although they did gain the one bonus point from the game. Sadly that one point was not enough to move them in the table, where they are still sitting at 9th, 2 points clear from 10th place Andover, and 6 points away from 8th place London Exiles.
Unfortunately there is no 1st XV game on Saturday, but it will give the lads a chance to recover. I’ll be back in a few weeks time when Pompey take on Old Regitans, who are currently 2nd place, on Saturday 10th of December.