Boost for Dudley as Lady Luck smiles on Portsmouth

Darren Crabb. Picture: Mick Young (160484-05)
Darren Crabb. Picture: Mick Young (160484-05)
Dave Wheaton and the Fareham Heathens. Picture: Neil Marshall (171152-317)

Double trouble for heroic Heathens

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Portsmouth lifted their spirits with a hard-fought 20-17 London two south west win at London Exiles.

Head coach Ben Dudley admitted his team rode their luck a bit in the closing stages but felt the victory was well deserved.

It was a second league success of the season and lifted Portsmouth out of the bottom two.

Dudley is hoping the win will help his side repeat their efforts of last season when they found themselves in a similar position.

‘Last season we lost our first four games before breaking our duck at London Exiles,’ he said.

‘After that we went on a run and finished the season in fifth place.

‘Hopefully winning this game will help us get the ball rolling again.

‘Knowing we have come good after being in this position before helps us.

‘We know we have got the players capable of doing it.

‘It is a case of getting our heads down, putting in the hard work and making it happen.

‘This gets us looking back up the table again and we must now look to gain further momentum.’

Portsmouth fell behind on 11 minutes when the home side opened up with a converted try.

The visitors hit back with a well-worked score midway through the half with Jackson Clark the architect.

Clark chased a kick down, regained possession and put the supporting Darren Crabb under the posts for try.

Simon Morgan added the extras with the straightforward conversion.

A drop goal from the hosts meant Portsmouth went in trailing 10-7 at the break.

‘At that stage we were right in the game,’ said Dudley.

‘We had also played most of the rugby up to that point.

‘Although we had a lot of possession and territorial advantage, we had failed to capitalise upon it. We impressed the need to be patient and not to try to force the game too much.’

Portsmouth grabbed the initiative with two well-worked tries at the start of the second half.

Stuart Davies exploited a narrow gap on the blindside after good combination between forwards and backs.

Within six minutes, Anthony Fooks finished in identical fashion following a break up the middle by Luke Richardson.

The visitors faced a frantic final 10 minutes after Richardson was sin-binned and they conceded a penalty try.

‘We had to ride our luck a little,’ said Dudley.

‘However, we kept them out with some decent defence managing to scramble the ball to safety on a couple of occasions.

‘They had a chance to snatch the draw with a penalty at the end but to our relief their kicker pushed it wide of the post.

‘We were due that little bit of luck.’