US Portsmouth RFC mark two-year anniversary of almost folding by romping to huge Hampshire 1 victory
US Portsmouth RFC marked the two-year anniversary of one of the club’s worst days by going close to recording a century of points.
It was in early November 2019 that USP made the tough decision to withdraw from London 3 South West due to a lack of players.
Almost two years to the day later, the reformed club travelled to Eastleigh to play Southampton University Hospital - and romped to a 90-0 Hampshire 1 victory.
The hosts were depleted due to a University game, and it was immediately clear there was a difference in size and experience between the two sides.
Billy Rolfe opened the scoring within three minutes, powering over from the back of a ruck, and two minutes later he repeated the feat from a similar position. Lewis Murray twice converted and USP led 14-0 early on.
Max Painter, on his debut, barrelled over from close range with Murray again adding the extras.
At this stage the backs had done enough watching the forwards bag the tries and quick scores followed from Stephen Gee, Sam Masters and a first of the afternoon for Fijian flyer Kini Dakuliga.
Rolfe’s try hat-trick - he is now averaging more than a try a game in his quest for 30 this season - extended the half-time lead to 49-0.
The second half did not get any easier for the hosts, losing both their left winger and fly half to injuries.
USP ran in seven more tries - Dakuliga (3), Tom Shakespeare (2) and Cam Moore (2) on target - against a SUH side who finished with 14 men but who never gave up.
USP’ margin of victory was the largest in Hampshire 1 this season.
Two years on from the club almost folding due to lack of numbers, USP had almost 20 players unavailable last weekend for a number of reasons. But they were still able to field a strong 18-man squad.
‘This is testament to the hard work of everyone to rebuild the side,’ said manager Joel Crook. ‘We are well on track to seeing our goal of returning to having two playing sides in the hopefully near future.’
USP host a top of the table fixture next weekend at Burnaby Road, when the second-placed hosts welcome leaders Fawley.