Enjoyable occasion as Havant defend Hampshire RFU Vets Cup against Portsmouth

Havant Mariners proved too strong for Portsmouth and retained the Hampshire RFU Vets Cup. Picture: Chris Moorhouse
Havant Mariners proved too strong for Portsmouth and retained the Hampshire RFU Vets Cup. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

Havant maintained their stranglehold on the Hampshire RFU Vets Cup by beating Portsmouth 31-15 in the final at Rugby Camp.

The Mariners lifted the trophy for the third successive season – equalling Portsmouth's record of five wins since the competition started.

Despite the result, Portsmouth captain Ben Di Marco felt it was an enjoyable occasion for all involved.

‘It was a good competitive contest between the two sides,’ he said. 

‘Havant were very good at getting the ball out wide quickly and using the pace of their back three.

‘We were stronger in the scrums and line-outs, which proved our strong point.

‘In those areas we dominated and tried to capitalise on that.

‘Once Havant opened up a lead at the start of the second half though we found ourselves chasing the game.

‘With the cushion of points they had it allowed them to be far more expansive in their game.

The Mariners made the first breakthrough with an opening try after 11 minutes.

Portsmouth replied seven minutes later when Di Marco scored from close in.

The hosts secured the ball at a line out five metres from the visitors’ line and set up a driving maul.

The forwards trundled over the line for Di Marco to touch down at the back.

Havant then scored a second try under the posts and added the easy conversion.

David Jones hit back again for Portsmouth, leaving them trailing 12-10 at the break.

Havant took charge with two quickfire tries in the first nine minutes of the second period.

Di Marco's troops refused to give up, though, and they claimed a home try.

Although the Hilsea outfit were unable to regain the RFU Vets Cup, it was still an entertaining afternoon. 

And Portsmouth aim to clinch the silverware when the teams do battle again at Hooks Lane next year.  

‘It was a really enjoyable day and a chance to catch up with some old acquaintances,' added Di Marco.

‘Both teams hung around afterwards and joined together for a cheese and wine celebration.

‘We are already looking forward to our next meeting in April at Hooks Lane.’