Portsmouth's strength of character praised as they claim bragging rights against rivals Gosport & Fareham

Neil McRoberts lauded Portsmouth's strength of character as they returned to winning ways with a 19-0 London Three South West derby win against Gosport & Fareham at Rugby Camp.

Sunday, 24th November 2019, 3:24 pm
Updated Sunday, 24th November 2019, 4:14 pm
Portsmouth's Rhys Bowen dodges a tackle against Gosport & Fareham. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (231119-8)

A run of four successive league defeats had rocked the city club's confidence, but they refused to feel sorry for themselves.

McRoberts feels the win over their rivals can provide Portsmouth with the shot in the arm they badly required.

‘It was a really good win and, I have to say, I am pleased for the players who have experienced a difficult few weeks,’ said McRoberts.

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Action from Portsmouth's derby clash with Gosport & Fareham. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (231119-5)

‘A lesser group of players would have questioned themselves.

‘Instead, they have stuck together and provided a fantastic performance.

‘The scoreline in no way reflects our dominance of the game.

‘We controlled it from start to finish and on a dry day, there would probably have been a 40-point scoreline.

Portsmouth's Mark Ovens attempts to stop an opposing player in his tracks. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (231119-6)

‘Winning this game is important in so many different ways.

‘Psychologically, it should give us a massive boost.’

A good crowd turned out to support their respective teams and despite the wet conditions were not disappointed.

Although conditions were not conducive to open-running rugby, both teams tried to play an expansive game.

Portsmouth's Benjamin Smith picks up the loose ball. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (231119-12)

The home side had the better of the early encounters, pinning the visitors back in their own 22 for long spells.

An early scoring chance went begging for the hosts when Noah Cannon's pass to Luke Peters was just too high.

Though enjoying the lions share of possession, Portsmouth were unable to break through a resilient Gosport defence.

When the interval arrived neither team had managed to get on the scoreboard.

The deadlock was finally broken ten minutes into the second half.

Scrum-half Ben Smith broke on the blindside following a scrummage and fed Peters, who crossed wide out.

Smith then extended Portsmouth's lead with two penalties.

A charged down clearance-kick allowed Matt Hoban to stretch the home side into a 19-0 lead five minutes from the end.

‘There was a lot of pressure on the players who felt they hadn't done themselves justice in recent games,’ said McRoberts.

‘A lot of credit has to go to our captain Daz Leggot and vice-captain, Tim Snowden, for their leadership on the pitch.

‘Off the pitch, coaches Gareth Richards and Ben Lanigan have been instrumental in keeping them focused.

‘Getting the winning feeling back is so important.

‘There is still a lot to do but we have got to go on a winning run.

‘If we can do that then it keeps the pressure on other teams around us to keep performing.’

Portsmouth take a break from league action next weekend when they visit Reeds Weybridge in the RFU Senior Vase.