Portsmouth are early-season London 3 SW pacesetters after Hampshire derby success

Portsmouth are the early pacesetters at the top of London 3 South West after a 39-28 Hampshire derby win at Andover.

Sunday, 22nd September 2019, 4:22 pm
Dan Gates was among Portsmouth's scorers in their win at Andover

Playing up the pronounced sloping pitch in the first half, the visitors adapted well to lead  22-7 at the interval.

Early replacement Mark Hoban won good ball at a line-out to race through for the opening try on 12 minutes.

Within five minutes Portsmouth extended their advantage with a well-worked counter-attack try finished off by winger Tim Hopkins.

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Noah Cannon added two quickfire tries to leave Portsmouth in charge at the change of ends.

A Dan Gates try at the start of the second half confirmed their superiority before Andover fought back.

Though Luke Simmons notched a converted try with ten minutes remaining, the hosts were still in reach at 28-34.

Five minutes from time Sam Foster confirmed the Portsmouth win, gathering a loose ball and stretching over the line to score.

Fareham Heathens suffered a 15-8 Hampshire Premier loss against Millbrook at Cams Alders.

Southsea Nomads opened up their season with a 22-12 win at Bognor.

Stand-in captain Jonathan Branston said:  'We controlled the game well in the first half but couldn't convert our pressure into points and let Bognor into it.

'For large periods of the second half it felt like we were going to narrowly lose. 

'However, in the final 15 minutes we stepped up and started to take them on with great running from Matt Smith and John Titcombe controlling the backline. 

'When it mattered most we put in the hard work and got our reward.'

The home side struck the first blow with an interception try under the posts.

This fired Nomads into action and number eight Smith beat three defenders to power in at the corner.

Though Bognor added to their lead at the start of the second half, Nomads began to show increased aggression and were rewarded with a try from outside half Titcombe.

Nomads kept up the pressure and, though Smith was stopped just short of the line, Gavin Fewell was on hand to score.

Debutant wing forward Will Murray scored the decisive bonus-point try.

Murray was named as man of the match, particularly for his fine defensive work.