Four-try Sargeant helps Portsmouth Bowl over Fareham Heathens in the Cams Alders rain
Portsmouth returned to winning ways with a 31-6 Hampshire Bowl win against Fareham Heathens in testing conditions at Cams Alders.
After two successive league defeats, senior coach Neil McRoberts felt it was vital his team got back on track against their lower league hosts.
'It was a great team performance in atrocious conditions,' said McRoberts.
'Early on it was almost bordering on unplayable.
'Both teams can take credit for sticking at it and producing a good game of rugby.
'Dan Sargent will take the plaudits for his four tries but they all stemmed from a combined effort.
'It was everything that we needed because Heathens forced us to tough it out and get physical.
'Though the win was comfortable in the end, we had to work hard for it..
Conditions were tough and, although the rain eventually stopped, the wind and very muddy pitch made handling very difficult.
Heathens started with a gale force wind behind them but, with the ball like a bar of soap, handling was proving tricky.
Both teams found it difficult to establish any early control.
With the game being mainly played between the two 22s, it was Portsmouth who drew first blood.
From a line out just outside the Heathens 22, Portsmouth won good ball and a strong charge by debut making number eight Aaron Beesley saw the ball eventually into the hands of Sargent who crossed for a try.
Despite the difficult kicking conditions, Alisdar McDonald gave Portsmouth a 7-0 lead after 15 minutes.
Eight minutes later Heathens hit back with a penalty.
With the Portsmouth pack more or less in full control at scrum time, they took the ball deep into the Heathens half and Sargent again took the final pass to score out wide.
This time McDonald’s kick was blown off course.
Shortly before half-time Heathens, converted a second penalty.
Portsmouth struck early in the second half with Beesley claiming a try following a good forwards drive from a line-out.
The visitors’ pack was now in total control and a series of drives saw them camp in the Heathens half.
With the pitch cutting up, though, handling became even more difficult but players stuck to their task well.
None more so than Sargent who claimed his third try and McDonald stretched the lead to 24-6 with the conversion.
With Heathens pretty much confined to their half, Portsmouth scored their final try when Sargent touched down for a fourth time.
McRoberts had praise for debut-making England Deaf International Beesley.
'Aaron picked up a lot of ball for us at the base of the scrum and carried deep into the heart of their midfield,' he said of the former Southsea Nomads player.