Portsmouth were their own worst enemies in a 28-5 defeat at the hands of London two south west leaders Cobham at Rugby Camp.
That is the verdict of director of rugby Nigel Morgan, who felt his slow-starting side left themselves a mountain to climb after gifting the visitors a 14-point start.
If we were to have a chance of beating the top side, we had to play to our real potential. The players came off disappointed because they felt they hadn’t done thatNigel Morgan
‘The final scoreline doesn’t reflect the game,’ he said.
‘Overall we gifted them 21 of their points and you cannot do that against the best team in the league.
‘They were very quick in their decision making and had the ability to move the ball quickly.
‘When we got stuck into them, there was nothing between the two sides.
‘The big difference was they were clinical in taking their chances and we were not.’
Cobham exploited missed tackles by the home defenders to race into a 14-0 lead before the hosts hit back with a well-constructed try.
From a scrum inside the Cobham half, number eight Damian Gibbs picked up and made a powerful burst forward.
Gibbs linked with scrum-half Simon Morris and full-back Mark Ovens, who put right-winger Luke Simmons in at the corner.
After that there was no more scoring until the last 10 minutes when the visitors grabbed two more tries.
‘We put them under periods of pressure in the second half but didn’t take our chances,’ said Morgan.
‘At times we tried to play too much rugby and our kicking game could have been a lot better.
‘If we were to have a chance of beating the top side, we had to play to our real potential.
‘The players came off disappointed because they felt they hadn’t done that.’
United Services suffered late heartbreak as they slipped to a 30-24 London three south west defeat against Battersea Ironsides at Burnaby Road.
Services led 26-14 heading into the closing stages but conceded a penalty try and then an interception score two minutes before full-time.
‘It was our best performance of the season by far,’ said director of rugby Matt Davis.
‘The passion and commitment shown by the players was second to none and I am proud of them.
‘We showed a lot of heart which has been missing from recent games.
‘Despite outscoring them by four tries to three we have to console ourselves with losing bonus points.’
Services grabbed the early initiative with tries by Phil Gilliland and Stephen Gee.
The Ironsides hit back before a penalty try and another by Dougie Randall – after a fine kick ahead from Tom Blewitt – put Services 26-14 in front before the heartbreaking finale.
‘This performance will give us a big boost in our aim to establish ourselves in the London leagues,’ said Davis.