Saturday 14th. March 2020 Rearranged fixture after postponed earlier League match...
Portsmouth 3rd XV 39 - 5 Andover 3rd XV
Match Report by Jim Dixon
Portsmouth 3rd.XV were the only team flying the flag this Saturday. The Club was originally due to watch the international rugby on Super Saturday but events rather scuppered that idea. However the planned brunch and drinks still went ahead with a few more spectators than usual giving their 'helpful advise'..... They had hoped to play on the 1st.XV pitch but the referee deemed in unfit so they moved to the Vets pitch.
Portsmouth had the unusual chance of playing a father and son combination at half back with Elliott and Matt Davis. Portsmouth kicked off and despite Andover appearing to knock on the referee waved play on and they took the ball deep into the Portsmouth half. Portsmouth withstood the pressure well and with a couple of good turn overs managed to work play back into the Andover half. Eventually their efforts were rewarded with a try scored by their winger following some good handling involving forwards and backs. The conversion missed and they led 5 - 0 on 22 minutes. That score seemed to give them confidence in their handling ability and they were soon crossing the line again through some good forward play. With the conversion successful they now led 12 - 0 after 28 minutes., Andover set up a good attack of their own but some good defence by the home side kept them at bay, Again it was the forwards who added to their score with a third try taking the score to 17 - 0 on 32 minutes. Portsmouth were playing some entertaining rugby but were unable to add to the score as the half time whistle went.
Andover got the second half underway and Portsmouth were straight back on the attack but poor handling let them down at the crucial moment. Andover then had a real chance to open their account when a strong run by their centre was stopped with a big tackle by the Portsmouth fullback deep in the Portsmouth 22. From a scrum in the home sides' 22, a clearance kick by a Portsmouth centre saw the ball go into touch inside the visitors 22. Portsmouth were soon back on the scoreboard again following a good run by the backs which saw the ball eventually go the a second row who crashed over for their 4th, bonus point try. With the conversion successful they now led 24 - 0 on 45 minutes. Portsmouth were now in total control and 10 minutes later they were again on the score board following some good handling in the backs taking the score to 29 - 0 on 55 minutes, Shortly after this the Portsmouth No.8 made a good carry knocking defenders aside before passing to the 3's who finished off with a try wide out taking the score to 34 - 0 with about 10 minutes left. Andover then got their first score out wide following some good inter-passing between forwards and backs. The score was now 34 - 5 and there was just enough time for Portsmouth to sign off with their 7th. try making the final score 39 - 5 as the final whistle went.
Next week sees a resumption of 1st.XV League Rugby with a visit to Gosport & Fareham. Although they are at the wrong end of the table these are always hotly contested matches and next week will probably be no different. Let's hope that all rugby survives the current crisis and we can finish the season well with the 3 remaining fixtures, especially as the last 2 are at Rugby Camp.