Portsmouth crash back to earth with defeat at Tottonians

Andy Barnes, left, kicked three points
Andy Barnes, left, kicked three points
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COUNTY CUP winners Portsmouth suffered a 13-10 London two south west defeat at Tottonians.

After the celebrations of beating Gosport to lift the silverware, the Rugby Camp side were brought back down to earth.

It was a first-ever senior defeat at the hands of the Totton-based hosts.

Coach Ian Chandler was massively disappointed by the performance.

‘We paid for our complacency and lack of concentration,’ he said.

‘The players went into it thinking they already had the game won and didn’t prepare properly.

‘Sport has a nasty habit of jumping up and biting you on the backside when you think you have it all sorted.

‘A lack of consistency has been the story of our season and why we are languishing mid-table in the league.

‘It is a lesson the players have not learned.’

In a dour struggle, the deadlock wasn’t broken until two minutes before half-time when the home side struck.

After a ball popped out of the side of a Portsmouth scrummage, the home winger ran through three or four tackles to set up the opening try.

Andy Barnes reduced the deficit with a penalty early in the second half.

But a dreadful clearance kick gifted Tottonians a converted try and a 13-3 lead.

‘It was only then that we suddenly realised that we were in danger of losing,’ said Chandler.

Scrum-half Titch O’Connor signed off before leaving for Australia with a try.

But Portsmouth fell short at the end.

‘Our game just wasn’t clinical enough,’ said Chandler.

‘We botched lots of try-scoring opportunities because of a lack of concentration at crucial times.’

In Hampshire one, United Services couldn’t repeat their recent cup success as they went down 41-31 on the Isle of Wight.

Basement-club Petersfield ran Alton close before slipping to a 20-25 defeat at Penns Place.

Fareham Heathens took the local bragging rights in Hampshire two.

They enjoyed a 36-13 win over Southsea Nomads at Cams Alders.