Portsmouth fail to make ‘immaculate’ start pay

Adam Long once again starred for Portsmouth. Picture: Malcolm Wells (132911-6431)
Adam Long once again starred for Portsmouth. Picture: Malcolm Wells (132911-6431)
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Tom Whitehouse. Picture: Neil Marshall (171730-81)

Pearce fires warning to triumphant Portsmouth

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Portsmouth remain rooted to the bottom of London two south west after slumping to a 29-20 defeat at closest-rivals Effingham & Leatherhead.

The Rugby Camp club are still without a win after six league games.

But chairman of selectors Nigel Morgan felt they deserved more from the relegation encounter.

‘We deserved to come away with a win and did more than enough to do so,’ said Morgan.

‘In the first half, playing uphill and against the elements, we played 40 minutes of immaculate rugby.

‘It was our best 40 minutes so far this season.

‘We had been forced to make a number of changes and all the players who came in performed well.

‘In the second half we tired and we didn’t get the breaks, which is what happens when you are at the bottom.’

Outstanding prop-forward Chris Nicholl put Portsmouth ahead in the first half with his first senior try for the club.

Soon after half-time, man-of-the-match Adam Long set up a second try with an 80-metre burst to the line that ended with Anthony Fookes forcing his way over the line.

The conversion and a Bobby Owen penalty stretched the visitors into a 15-7 lead.

In a roller-coaster finale, the home side hit back to grab a two-point lead, before Portsmouth scrum-half Owens scampered over to put his side 20-17 up with 10 minutes remaining. The hosts grabbed a winning try six minutes from time, though.

And in a heartbreaking last second, the visitors knocked the ball on over the home goalline.

United Services were given a huge scare by Hampshire one basement side Overton before edging to a 20-14 win at Burnaby Road.

The home team cruised into a 15-0 lead midway through the second half – with two Will Rolfe tries along with a Chris Marriott penalty and conversion.

Two converted tries in the space of five minutes rocked Services back on their heels.

And it took a late Marriott try to ease the nerves.

In Hampshire two, Southsea Nomads made unbeaten league leaders Petersfield battle all the way for their 24-13 win at Furze Lane.