Portsmouth play-off dream dashed after emphatic defeat at Battersea Ironsides

Portsmouth had their slim London three south west play-off chances ended by a thumping 52-12 defeat at Battersea Ironsides.

Sunday, 24th March 2019, 2:38 pm
Updated Sunday, 24th March 2019, 2:46 pm
Portsmouth need to recover from the defeat at Battersea and get back on track ahead of their push for Twickenham. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (160319-45)

After their glorious cup exploits of the previous week it was a hugely disappointing performance.

Senior coach Neil McRoberts felt that they had really seen their promotion hopes wrecked a few weeks back.

They had left themselves too much to do.

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McRoberts said: ‘If we are honest it wasn't losing this game that cost us the chance of promotion.

‘We handed the initiative to Battersea a few weeks ago.

‘After that it was always going to be a long shot for us.

‘When we look back it was other games that hurt us.

‘The games against Andover, Old Tiffinians and the two defeats against Warlingham are prime examples.

‘The way results have gone means that we will finish third which is not a bad effort.

‘We know it could have been better but it gives us something to move forward from next season.

‘There is still plenty left to play for and we mustn’t allow our league season to fizzle out.

‘We have two more league games to play before our big play-off cup game with a place at Twickenham at stake.

‘It is important we keep the enthusiasm going as we head towards that.’

Knowing they had to win to keep their promotion chances mathematically alive Portsmouth made a solid start.

They expected the Battersea onslaught at the start of the game and absorbed the early pressure.

Just when it looked like they had weathered the storm however the visitors suddenly switched off and it proved fatal.

Battersea grabbed two ‘soft’ tries in quick succession and suddenly the Portsmouth game began to unravel.

By half-time Portsmouth trailed 35-7 and left with a mountain to climb.

McRoberts was frustrated by the nature of the defeat.

He said: ‘The scoreline shows it was a hammering.

‘Battersea scored eight tries and we gifted them at least five of them.

‘There was a lack of first-up tackles and you cannot afford to do that against a team as good as Battersea.

‘Fair play and congratulations to them because they deserved it.’

Jonny Stoppard claimed the first-half try for Portsmouth with a catch and drive from a line-out five yards from the home line.

Will Brock crashed over under the posts for their second-half try.