Portsmouth closing in on Twickenham dream

Luke Simmons slides in for the opening try. Picture: Neil Marshall (171730-1)

Portsmouth kept their Twickenham dreams alive with a 31-0 win over Datchworth in the RFU Senior Vase at Rugby Camp.

The hosts defied the difficult conditions to move within three games of a showpiece final.

Director of rugby Jim Pearce praised the club members for their support and help in making sure the tie went ahead.

‘We have to thank all the people who turned up at midday with pitchforks,’ he said.

‘It paid off and there is a real buzz about the place.

‘The only disappointment was for the second week running we had to go to uncontested scrums before half-time.

‘But despite the conditions we persisted with our high-tempo game.

‘The slippery ball was bound to lead to mistakes and we probably left three tries out there.

‘That was inevitable in the circumstances, though.

‘We know the style and patterns we want to play and we did that.’

After Datchworth missed an easy penalty in front of the posts, Portsmouth broke out to take the lead.

On 13 minutes, Luke Simmons intercepted a pass and went the whole length of the pitch to score under the posts before Stewart Davies added the conversion.

The hosts quickly became the dominant force in the tie and that pressure paid off when Tom Whitehouse scored out wide.

Davies again added the extra points to give them a 14-0 lead at half-time.

Further tries in the second period from Dan Holbrook and Anthony Fooks confirmed Portsmouth’s passage into the next round.

‘It was great to see such a good crowd turn up and get behind the teams,’ added Pearce.

‘The club is on the crest of a wave and this was a big day.

‘Being so close to a Twickenham final is a big carrot for us.

‘Three of the other teams in the regional semi-final draw on Wednesday are in our league.

‘There was a brilliant vibe in the clubhouse afterwards with lots and lots of smiling faces.’

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