Jones strikes late to rescue Portsmouth

Adam Long
Adam Long

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A last-gasp Dave Jones try helped give Portsmouth a winning start to their London two south west campaign.

Jones powered his way over in the final play of the game to give the Rugby Camp side a thrilling 23-22 win over Old Alleynians.

For coach Ian Chandler it proved a nail-biting afternoon on his return to Portsmouth.

‘It isn’t good for the blood pressure and my doctor won’t be happy with it,’ said Chandler.

‘It was typical Portsmouth, conceding soft tries after doing all the hard work.

‘We played some exceptional rugby against the wind in the first half to lead 15-3.

‘Then we take our foot off the pedal and give our opponents the sniff of a chance.

‘Naive play and a schoolboy error allowed Old Alleynians to do just that.’

Portsmouth started well, with a Chris Morgan penalty and try by Adam Long.

The home side then squandered a series of good scoring chances and the visitors hit back with a try.

But Long soon added his second try.

Portsmouth then allowed themselves to be driven back 30 yards to concede another try.

‘You just ask yourself how on earth did we let them do that,’ said Chandler.

‘We had the wind in the second half but the players just switched off, thinking they had the game won already.

Instead Alleynians scored two further tries to lead 22-18 with seven minutes left.

Suddenly realising they were about to lose the game, Portsmouth responded.

They laid seige to the visitors’ goal-line but it wasn’t until the final seconds that they got the breakthrough.

Jones took four defenders over the line with him as he saved Portsmouth’s blushes at the death.

‘We needed something special at the end and Dave provided it for us,’ said Chandler.

‘I can’t fault the effort of the players but they were very naive at times.

‘Last season, though, the team would have lost this game.

‘It is still a fairly young team with most players under the age of 25 years.’