Portsmouth proud but Guildford seal victory

Dan Stoneman breaks forward for Portsmouth against Guildford at Rugby Camp. Picture: Allan Hutchings
Dan Stoneman breaks forward for Portsmouth against Guildford at Rugby Camp. Picture: Allan Hutchings
Dave Wheaton and the Fareham Heathens. Picture: Neil Marshall (171152-317)

Double trouble for heroic Heathens

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an impressive performance from Portsmouth proved not enough to halt the charge of London south west two leaders Guildford at Rugby Camp.

The visitors were expected to win comfortably and their 33-10 margin of victory suggested as much.

But it did not tell the story of the match.

Portsmouth put the title-chasers under lots of pressure, with a display that pleased manager Nigel Morgan.

He said: ‘This was the performance of the season from us.

‘I am so proud of the players and the way they set about the difficult task.

‘They were fantastic.’

Morgan felt a superb start from the Rugby Camp set the tone for their strong display, full of guts and determination.

He said: ‘We took the game to them from the kick-off and they hardly touched the ball in the opening 10 minutes.

‘In the first half, we played against the strong wind and when we did come under pressure our defence was outstanding.’

Despite a good opening from the hosts, it was the visitors who broke the deadlock.

They scored with a catch-and-drive try on the half-hour mark.

Number eight Will Phillips, who had an outstanding game in the forwards, responded just before half-time.

Phiilips was stopped just short of the line, following a 40-metre break.

And from the resulting scrummage he picked up and fed winger Curtis Barnes for a try.

At the start of the second half, Portsmouth conceded a try, after failing to run the ball out of defence.

Morgan said: ‘We got to half-time at 5-5 but then made a couple of mistakes, we could have done without, at the start of the second period.

‘We paid the price for a bit of naivity.

‘What we should have done is use the wind to kick the ball up the other end of the pitch.’

Guildford took charge in the closing stages.

But Portsmouth got the final score when scrum-half Chris Morgan put in a grubber kick for Barnes to claim his second try of the game.

Morgan believes the result has no real impact on the team’s battle to stay in the division.

They were not expecting anything out of the Guildford game.

Morgan is now looking for them to build on their positive performance and pick up a good haul of points.

He said: ‘We need to win three of the last four games to stay up.

‘From now on it is all about picking up points and not performances.

‘If we can repeat the intensity of this performance then we will give ourselves every chance.’

United Services stayed in the Hampshire one promotion hunt with an excellent 48-24 win at Farnborough.

Chris Marriott and Luke Agis both scored two tries.

Kit Wappett, Will Rolfe and Kyle Bond also crossed for tries.

Marriott was in form with the boot, adding a penalty and five conversions to complete the impressive US victory.

Coach Brian Saunders feels it gives the team the belief they need as they look to continue their push for promotion.

He said: ‘It was a tough game but we really enjoyed it.

‘We matched them up front and came away scoring seven tries.

‘The win keeps us in the hunt and puts us in the right frame of mind for when we host league-leaders Fordingbridge in two weeks time.’