Portsmouth fail to halt Tonbridge

Try scorer Dan Gates
Try scorer Dan Gates
Tom Whitehouse. Picture: Neil Marshall (171730-81)

Pearce fires warning to triumphant Portsmouth

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Portsmouth acquitted themselves well before losing 56-15 against runaway London one south leaders Tonbridge Juddians at Rugby Camp.

The Hilsea-based club lived with the visitors for over an hour before the heavyweights stretched away in the closing stages.

‘You could see why they are where they are because they were a big, physical outfit with few weaknesses,’ said Portsmouth coach Ian Chandler.

‘They are open about the fact they are semi-professional and have a playing budget in the region of £250,000.

‘Ours, in comparison, is zilch or whatever we can get for free.

‘We put in a great performance, though, and had five 18-year-olds in our team.’

Tonbridge took an early lead with a converted try, before Ben Whitely hit back for the home side, finishing off an excellent team move.

The visitors punished two mistakes to lead 21-5 at the break but Portsmouth bounced back, with Dan Gates going in under the posts for a try converted by Steve Clunie.

Phil Cartmill added a dropped goal soon afterwards but as Portsmouth tired, Juddians added four late tries.

‘The only difference was they took their chances when they came along,’ said Chandler.

‘We had a lot of possession but their well-organised defence was hard to break down.’