‘No hiding place’ as Portsmouth suffer miserable Hampshire Bowl semi-final exit at Andover

Portsmouth made a hugely disappointing exit in the Hampshire Bowl with a 22-10 semi-final defeat at Andover.

Sunday, 9th February 2020, 3:59 pm
Updated Sunday, 9th February 2020, 4:14 pm
Portsmouth's Tom Hopkins put his side ahead at Andover in the Hampshire Bowl. Picture: Keith Woodland

Senior coach Neil McRoberts found it hard to hide his frustrations.

'There is no hiding from the fact that it was a poor performance,' he stated.

'We didn't play anywhere near our capabilities.

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'As a group, players and coaches, it is something that we need to take stock of.

'Our target at the start of the season was to win promotion and get to a cup final.

'The latter has now gone and the former is very unlikely.

'Our task now is to make sure that we are up for all our remaining games.

'We failed to win our one on one collisions and you can't afford to do that against a team like Andover.

'The necessary physicality was missing.'

Three players exempt from criticism, however, were the midfield trio of Kieran McRoberts, Trent Nancikevell and debut making Ben Jeacock.

Portsmouth started against a strong wind but with the slope in their favour.

They struck the first blow after five minutes when Will Rolfe drove over the line after a series of pick and drives.

Tom Hopkins kicked the conversion to give the visitors a 7-0 lead against a side they had beaten twice in London South West 3 action this season.

Andover pulled one try back before half-time and scored another soon after the restart to take the lead.

A Hopkins penalty reduced the deficit to two points but that was as good as it got for the visitors.

'We compounded our failings with a ridiculous penalty count against us,' said McRoberts.

'In all we gave away 28 penalties.

'That is the best part of three pitch lengths in territory without the opposition having to do anything.

'It prevented us getting any flow to our game.

'Every time we went forward we were either penalised or turned the ball over.

'It was a frustrating day all round.'

Portsmouth will look to make amends when they resume their league campaign against Weybridge Vandals at Rugby Camp next Saturday.