Rugby Read: Portsmouth Bounce Back

Photography credit: Lesley Gicquel

After a close but disappointing loss in their opening game of the season, Portsmouth RFC came back with a vengeance in the second match against Basingstoke. S&C rugby correspondent Will Payne reports.

On Saturday 16th Portsmouth welcomed Basingstoke and after a bitter loss the week before, Portsmouth emerged victorious, winning 64-0.

The home team kicked off and almost instantly put points on the board. After receiving a clearance kick on the wing, Mark Ovens sped past the opposition winger, passing inside to Caucau who bundled over making the score 7-0 after just 3 minutes.

Basingstoke bounced back with a good attack, only to be stopped by Darren Crabb who turned. The result was an attack down the wing, but it ended after a strong tackle. Portsmouth came back in full force after a scrum led to Ovens going over in the corner. Barnes’ conversion missed, 12-0, 20 minutes gone.

The opposing team had to dig deep to drive Pompey back into their own 22’, but after an excellent defence Portsmouth turned the ball over and sent it wide. Hopkins scored making it 17-0.

Portsmouth received a yellow card for persistent penalties. But even though they were down a man, the team scored a beautifully worked try from deep in their half. Barnes went in under the posts, making it 24-0 going into the break.

At half time Portsmouth were in the best position possible. They had secured the bonus point and hadn’t conceded. After their defeat the previous week, the lads needed to prove they can be title contenders this season.

Basingstoke restarted the game, but full back Davies intercepted the ball and sprinted the length of the pitch to score beneath the posts. After a good conversion from Barnes the score stood at 31-0 after only 2 minutes of the second half.

After Basingstoke gave away a penalty, Barnes found touch with a well-placed kick deep into enemy territory. Portsmouth were then awarded a scrum off the 5-metre line, followed by a penalty try, given them an imposing lead. Good conversion, 38-0. Jamie Miller finished off an exquisite handling move, making the score 43-0 after just 12 minutes.

14 minutes after Miller’s try, Hopkins crossed over for his second of the day after good play from the whole team. The conversion was successful, making the score 50-0. Almost instantly Portsmouth scored again, this time as  Davies collected the ball after good back-play, making the score 57-0 after 28 minutes.

Hopkins wanted more, increasing his tally to 3 tries and Portsmouth’s overall score to 64-0 with 6 minutes of game play to go. A beautiful interception and full pitch run was converted, adding the crucial 2 points.

An excellent performance from Portsmouth last week ended with the full amount of points and the bonus for the team. However, even though it was a good win, the coaching staff must have concerns over the amount of penalties Portsmouth gave away. Against a better side they may not have as many chances.

This result moved Pompey up to 4th in the league, just 2 points behind Old Cranleighans. Today will see Portsmouth travel to Southampton to play the Trojans, who currently sit at 1st after another win this week.

Image by Lesley Gicquel.