Last Saturday saw Portsmouth travel to Charlton Park to play in the next round of the Intermediate Cup. Pompey players and fans both knew that a win today would put them one step closer to the final at Twickenham. Unfortunately Charlton Park also knew that. S&C rugby correspondent Will Payne reports.
The home team kicked off and after strong pressure from Pompey, the team won a penalty near the line. A good forward move saw the ball move out to Fookes who knocked it on.
Charlton Park took a 5-0 lead five minutes in, winning the ball back and running half the length of the pitch for a good try out wide. The side applied more and more pressure and after a successful grubber their winner went over, making it 10-0 after a missed conversion attempt.
Halfway through the first half, Park piled on the forward pressure, scoring their 3rd try and grabbing the kick to make it 17-0. From a scrum, Park managed to increase their lead with their 4th try, making it 24-0 with five minutes left to play.
With tensions starting to rise and Pompey under pressure, Portsmouth won a penalty in the attacking half, gaining another ten metres for back chat from the Park players. Never a proud moment in the great game of rugby, a Charlton Park player received a yellow card for hitting Jackson Clark.
Portsmouth then lost the resultant scrum, meaning Park could kick the ball out to end the half.
With Park playing so well, Portsmouth would have to work hard to get back in the game. In the second half, the team would need to dig deep to claw back a victory.
Straight in to the second half, Luke Simons blocked and regathered a Park clearance attempt, and went over to make it 5-24.
At 46 minutes in, Park utilised their pack power once again, driving Pompey back about ten metres before firing the ball out wide and scoring their 5th try, making the score 31-5. Soon after, they won a questionable penalty for a high tackle, and took it quickly, going over for their 6th try and bringing the score to 36-5 after a missed conversion.
Following a series of effective attacking play, Gareth Richards found Luke Simmons with a beautiful long pass that allowed him to go over in the corner and lift the Pompey score to 10-36 after another miss kick.
A second Park player was yellow carded from a high tackle, after an excellent attack from the Pompey side. Ryan Wilkie capitalised on the opportunity, scoring wide out at 15-36, with four minutes left to play. But Park had the final say of the game, scoring on the brink of the final whistle and making the final score 43-15 to the home team.
Portsmouth got back in the game too late this week, facing an uphill struggle after Park scored four times in the first half. The team can take some commiseration as the moral victors of the match, with two Park players binned for showing a lack of discipline.
Next week will see Portsmouth’s League battle continue with an away game at Twickenham, who are currently 4th. It’ll be a tough match, but if the team improve on last week’s problems, they could come home with more than a moral victory next time.
Image credit: Lesley Gicquel