Portsmouth Rugby Club stalwart Greg Hoolihan has 'special' day dampened by last-gasp Trojans loss
Stalwart Greg Hoolihan racked up a remarkable personal milestone in Portsmouth's London 3 South West defeat to Trojans at Rugby Camp.
Experienced club captain Hoolihan, who first joined Portsmouth's junior section in 1998, made his 300th senior first XV appearance in the last-gasp 24-22 defeat to Trojans.
It was certainly an unjust way for the one-club man to mark such a special occasion.
Hollihan, who made his Portsmouth senior debut in 2004, is in his 23rd year as a player at Rugby Camp.
Current head coach Gareth Richards, who was captained by the club stalwart during his playing days, says reaching 300 appearances is a remarkable feat for the hooker.
Richards said: ‘It was really special. Greg has been a fantastic servant to the club.
‘I think at any level to play 300 competitive first team games for your home club is very special.
‘Greg has represented the club at all levels from when they were in the National Leagues right through to where we are now.
‘I played with Greg as my captain when I was playing for the first team, he’s a good leader, he’s an excellent club man, he’s dedicated, works hard and a lot of the boys look up to him.
‘It was a really special day for him and we’re trying to find a way that’s fitting, really, to celebrate that achievement.’
Sadly, Portsmouth could not mark his landmark appearance with a victory, succumbing to a second straight defeat right at the last this season.
The hosts had turned around a 19-6 half time deficit to lead 22-19 with seconds remaining.
Gareth Davies crashed over five penalties while Darren Crabb grabbed Portsmouth's only try as they look set for a first win at the second attempt.
However, two yellow cards in the closing stages proved costly as the home side conceded a try at the last and ended with 13 players.
Richards reflected: ‘I think the key thing is not to hit the panic button. I still firmly believe the way we’re trying to play the game is right for us.
‘We’ve created opportunities in both games to win, we just haven’t got over the finish line there.
‘A lot of that, for me, comes down to accuracy. When you make in excess of 20 unforced errors within a game you’re playing on the back foot and giving the opposition the ball.
‘You look at the positives, despite making that number of errors, we were still in a position to win that game - you have to remain positive.’