Portsmouth move closer to dream Twickenham appearance with brilliant win

Portsmouth showed no sign of taking their feet off the gas after the win against United Services. Picture: Keith Woodland (160219-705)
Portsmouth showed no sign of taking their feet off the gas after the win against United Services. Picture: Keith Woodland (160219-705)
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Portsmouth moved closer to their Twickenham dream with a 19-10 RFU Senior Vase semi-final win against Battersea Ironsides at Rugby Camp.

The win puts them within two games of running out at the world famous stadium in a showpiece final.

They will now meet Chelmsford in the regional final with the venue still to be decided.

Senior coach Neil McRoberts believes these are exciting times at the club.

He said: ‘We are still fighting for honours on three fronts.

‘This competition, the Hampshire Bowl and for promotion in London three south west.

‘All three are within our grasp.

‘Reaching the regional final in itself is a good achievement.

‘We are very close to Twickenham and it would be a great achievement if we could get there.

‘It was a fine performance to see off a very good Battersea side.

‘The game was a real tussle between two well organised sides.

‘We felt that we were in control from start to finish.'

Portsmouth started strongly and had the first try on the board after only four minutes.

Lee Chandler put in a superbly judged cross-kick to the far wing.

Matt Farnes timed his jump perfectly to take the catch and dive over for a try.

Battersea hit back with two tries of their own to establish a 10-5 lead.

The Portsmouth forwards had the visitors under pressure in the scrums.

This led to the home side regaining the lead, 12-10, before half-time when the referee awarded them a penalty try.

The game was fought just as keenly in the second period.

Scrum-half Cam Duffus extended the home lead when he sprinted in for a try following a 10-metre lineout.

Chandler added the conversion.

Some superb defending from Farnes, collecting a cross-kick behind his own line prevented Battersea from reducing the lead.

McRoberts was delighted with the mental toughness of his side.

He said: ‘There was a danger after our big win last weekend that things could go flat.

‘The players didn't allow that to happen.

‘They got themselves sorted.

‘Up front we proved too powerful for them and our forwards did an exceptional job.

‘Now it is all about maintaining momentum between now and the end of the season.’

Portsmouth will have to prepare for a backlash in a couple of weeks time when they visit Battersea in a league encounter.

McRoberts knows they will have to repeat their cup success to keep their promotion ambitions alive.