Portsmouth coach eyes much-needed momentum after cup win

Ben Dudley is convinced Portsmouth's RFU Intermediate Cup success can have a positive impact on their league campaign.

Monday, 17th October 2016, 8:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 8:47 pm
Ryan Wilkie scores a try for Portsmouth. Picture: Habibur Rahman (161445-49)

The Hilsea-based club stormed to a 46-19 win over Dartfordians at Rugby Camp on Saturday.

And head coach Dudley believes the win can help kick-start Portsmouth’s London two south west campaign after a disappointing start.

‘We have not got off to the best of starts in the league,’ he said.

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‘It would be nice to have a few more points on the board.

‘There have been a number of reasons for that – not least mounting injury problems and unavailability.

‘Because of this we have stuttered and struggled to get into the swing of things.

‘But we have never felt we were too far away from a decent performance and it was pleasing to see us achieve just that against Dartfordians.

‘We played really well and hopefully it will help us generate some momentum.’

After making a reasonable start, the home side found themselves 14-0 behind after 15 minutes.

Twice the visitors capitalised on Portsmouth errors to score counter-attacking tries.

‘At that stage we were staring down the barrel of another defeat,’ added Dudley.

‘It was most pleasing, though, from a coach’s point of view, that we refused to roll over.

‘To give the team credit they clawed their way back and went from strength to strength as the game went on.’

Simon Morgan got the ball rolling with a penalty and Curtis Barnes followed this up with the first of his two tries.

Barnes dived in at the left-hand corner after Portsmouth put together a multi-phased move.

Anthony Fooks finished off another good combination between forwards and backs to leave the hosts trailing by a single point.

And then right on the stroke of half-time, Damian Gibbs bludgeoned his way over to give Portsmouth a 20-14 lead at the break.

‘We talked at half-time about the importance of getting two scores ahead,’ said Dudley.

‘I was keen to see us take the game away from Dartfordians and that is just what we did.’

Barnes went over for his second try and Fooks did the same soon afterwards to stretch the Portsmouth lead to 34-14.

Portsmouth confirmed their superiority with two further tries from Luke Richardson and Ryan Wilkie.

The home side were able to give a debut to Ryan Franks in the back-row as the game reached its climax.

And he acquitted himself well after impressing in the second team during the current campaign.

Dudley now has to prepare his side for their return to league action next Saturday.

And life doesn’t get easier – with league leaders London Cornish set to visit the south coast.

‘We have a tough run of games coming up,’ said Dudley.

‘But after this we can go into the game on the back of a half-decent performance.’