Portsmouth deliver win in entertaining Hampshire Bowl tie with Basingstoke

Tom Hopkins scores a try. Picture: Vernon Nash
Tom Hopkins scores a try. Picture: Vernon Nash
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Portsmouth opened their competitive season with a hard-fought 27-21 win against Basingstoke in the first round of the Hampshire Bowl at Rugby Camp.

The two sides meet again in a fortnight's time on the opening day of the London three south west campaign. 

Neil McRoberts felt the success was the perfect way for the Hilsea side to kick off their campaign.

The head coach said: ‘It was good to start with a win against a physical well-organised Basingstoke team.

‘They won every game in getting promoted from the Hampshire premier last season.

‘From my point of view, it is exactly the type of game we needed at this stage.

‘The game will help both teams make the transition from friendlies to the more intense league matches.

‘It’s still very early and both teams were sweeping away the cobwebs.

‘In the end our win was more comfortable than the final scoreline suggested.’

With captain Daz Leggett out of action until October because of hand surgery, Tim Snowdon took over.

The hosts started strongly and had their first points on the board within five minutes.

Centre Mark Ovens pulled off an interception and ran through to score under the posts.

Lee Chandler easily added the conversion.

Despite playing into the wind Portsmouth enjoyed territorial advantage but scoring chances went begging.

Basingstoke hit back with a 27th-minute converted try but the city club regained the lead when prop-forward Dan Sargent charged over for a try.

The visitors went in ahead at the break with a converted try on the stroke of half-time.

Lee Chandler kicked a penalty soon after the restart but in the 55th minute Portsmouth trailed 21-15.

The response was good and Basingstoke were put under increasing pressure.

A penalty try and a good finish from winger Tom Hopkins ensured the hosts finished the game on top.

‘It will be a cracking start to the league season when we meet again’ added McRoberts.

‘We know that it is going to be tough and we will have to be focused in our preparations.

‘I am confident that we will come away from that game with something.'

Portsmouth play their final pre-season game against Winchester on Saturday.