Portsmouth boost survival bid

Portsmouth made good progress. Picture: Mick Young
Portsmouth made good progress. Picture: Mick Young
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PORTSMOUTH have a London two south west lifeline after a 13-3 win over Old Reigatians at Rugby Camp.

The win saw the hosts climb above rivals Farnham and out of the relegation places with just one game to play.

Their final game is at Old 
Alleynians and a bonus-point win will keep them up.

Anything less than that, and 
Farnham, who entertain Effingham & Leatherhead at the same time, will send them down.

Portsmouth head coach Ian Chandler is happy his team have given themselves a fighting chance going into the final game.

Their prospects looked bleak before this match after some recent disappointments.

But they responded well and got the result they wanted to give themselves a fighting chance of staying in the division.

It’s a key moment in the club’s history as they look to avoid the drop to make sure they can develop and improve in the coming seasons.

‘Hopefully it isn’t too late and we can go and get the result we need,’ said Chandler.

‘Our fate is back in our own hands and having earned ourselves a chance, all we have to do is go and take it.

‘It is the last chance saloon and we have no other option than to go there and do the business.

‘I would say the odds are still slightly in Farnham’s favour, because they are expected to win their last game.

‘But if our forwards can dominate again at Alleynians and we can take our chances then we are capable of pulling it off.’

Playing against a strong wind, Portsmouth fell behind to an early penalty.

Unlike the previous week, though, Chandler’s team didn’t let the early setback unsettle them.

Chris Morgan kicked a penalty and the two teams turned around with the score 3-3 at half-time.

With the wind behind them in the second half, Portsmouth used the conditions to pin Reigatians back into their own territory.

Eventually the hosts set up a series of rucks close to the visitors line and number eight Toby Hill crashed over from close range.

Morgan added the points with a superb conversion from the touchline and later knocked over his second penalty of the game.

Chandler added: ‘The only down point of the whole game was our failure to get a bonus point.

‘We got over the line twice but the grounding wasn’t clear enough for the referee to award the tries.

‘Our three-quarters had numerous other chances but poor timing and over-enthusiasm meant we missed out.

‘For once, though, we showed the resilience we needed and didn’t allow the opposition back into it with silly mistakes.

‘We used the wind sensibly in the second half and our forwards controlled the game.’

Chandler now has two weeks to prepare his team for their biggest game for many seasons.

Alleynians will be a tough prospect but the Rugby Camp side are aware they have to get a result.

‘We know with our strongest team out we can be a match for anyone in our league,’ added Chandler.

‘Now we have to go into our final game and make sure we are up for it.’