10th February 2018 Portsmouth Hampshire Bowl Final
Defence of the Bowl crushed in the final play
Considering the cold, wet and blustery conditions, with a heavy pitch, both teams produced a cracking final, the lead changing six times, with Trojans having their defence of the Hampshire Bowl crushed in the final play of the game.
Trojans started well and, within 2 minutes, an attack on the right saw fly-half Chris Boyd put in a long cross-kick which winger Johnny Smyth gathered and sped the short distance to the line to open the scoring. Portsmouth hit straight back and within a few minutes their backs broke through the Trojans defence to score a converted try. The next half hour saw a battle of contrition with Portsmouth slightly on top but with Trojans mounting a few good attacks but then Portsmouth kicked a penalty to the corner and a strong maul pushed over the line to score with another very good conversion. Trojans finished the first half well on the attack and threatened the Portsmouth line a few times and finally, opting for a scrum from a penalty, No 8 Alex Williams picked up and crashed over but the lack of the regular kicker told with the extra points not gained.
Trojans started the second half well and on five minutes were on the edge of the twenty-two where Alex Williams picked up from a ruck and charged through a sleepy Portsmouth defence to score with the easier conversion made by Chris Boyd and Trojans taking the lead. Trojans maintained territory in the Portsmouth half for the next ten minutes but an excellent, long defensive kick took the ball right down to the Trojans twenty two where, from a line-out, Portsmouth mauled the ball over the line to score an unconverted try and retake the lead. Trojans hit straight back when, from a maul on the Portsmouth ten metre line, Williams was again in action with a strong run down the pitch, passing inside to centre Fontaine who almost made the line but slipped a pass inside for Williams to score his third try – lead changed again. Williams’s hat-trick was very appropriate as he was Captain for the day and was playing his last game before heading of for a period in Australia. Trojans then came under some sustained pressure and Portsmouth gained a penalty to level the scores. The last five minutes were very hectic with the spectators dreading extra time as they were cold and wet enough! And that’s the way it looked until a Portsmouth grubber kick bounced towards the Trojans line just keeping in the field of play and with Portsmouth just getting to the touch down with the referee blowing for full time as soon as the conversion was kicked.