Portsmouth at Home
By Peter Reid
A close one
A titanic battle ensued at Stoneham with play swinging from end to end and the lead changing hands a total of seven times. Both sides made mistakes, gifting some of the scores, but this was due to the intensity and speed of the game.
Trojans started brightly and within three minutes centre Ben Rose went over for a try in the corner but, unfortunately, sustained an injury which kept him out for the rest of the game. Portsmouth soon hit back with a well worked try far out and a great conversion. Play was fairly even until, on the quarter hour, a Portsmouth mistake on the half-way line allowed Trojans No 8, Chris Boyd, to pick up and run all the way to the line to score wide out so no conversion. Portsmouth hit straight back with a maul bundled over in the corner, with another good conversion, to retake the lead. Another Portsmouth mistake saw Trojans again take advantage for winger Elliott Culley to dash down the wing to snatch the lead back and this was extended when fly-half Toogi Long followed suit with a run down the opposite wing. Play then swung back and forth until, on the half-hour, Portsmouth kicked a penalty to narrow the gap to three points but then gained the lead back with a try in the corner to make the half-time score 20 - 22.
Portsmouth started the second half strongly and kicked a penalty but, on twenty minutes Trojans put their nose in front again with another Culley try converted by Josh Gregory who had come on for the injured No 10, Toogi Long. Portsmouth were not to be undone, however, and immediately hit back with a well worked converted try to snatch the lead with a five point lead. Both sides had some good attacking moves but Trojans failed to take advantage of theirs making some mistakes one of which, with less than ten minutes to go, allowed Portsmouth to get into the Trojans half and a successful penalty kick robbed Trojans of a second bonus point.