Portsmouth ‘simply fantastic’ – promotion is in their own hands

Noah Cannon scores for Portsmouth against United Services. Picture: Keith Woodland (160219-860)
Noah Cannon scores for Portsmouth against United Services. Picture: Keith Woodland (160219-860)
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Portsmouth stormed to a sensational 71-21 derby win against United Services Portsmouth at Rugby Camp.

The Services challenge was blown away by the power and skill of the home side who ran in eight tries.

Home winger Noah Cannon claimed four touchdowns including an eight-minute hat-trick in the second half.

Fellow three-quarter Stuart Davies also grabbed a hat-trick of tries.

The game was over as a contest by half-time as the hosts opened up a 45-0 lead.

Though Services improved after the break there was no way back.

The win keeps Portsmouth hot on the heels of the London three south west leaders Winchester and Battersea Ironsides.

Senior coach Neil McRoberts knows they have promotion in their hands still.

He said: ‘We still have to play our return games against the top two sides.

‘It is going to be tough but we feel we are capable of winning them.

‘We were simply fantastic against Services and I have never seen the team so focused.

‘Services were blown away and couldn’t cope with us.

‘After the last two weeks it was exactly what we needed.

‘When we play like this we are capable of beating anyone in our league.

‘The challenge now is not to let standards slip between now and the end of the season.’

The home side got off to a flyer when Stuart Davies charged down a clearance kick and the ball bounced up into his hands for a try after only five minutes.

Cam Duffus converted and almost immediately second row forward Louis Bristow forced his way over for a second try.

With the home forwards dominating the writing was already on the wall for the visitors.

Cannon, Alex Duffus, Davies (two) and Luke Simmons added further scores before the break.

Services were better in the second half and scored three tries of their own.

Portsmouth were forced to defend for a period but prevented Services scoring a fourth-try to deny them a bonus point.

McRoberts added: ‘People have questioned the coaches and the players after two successive defeats.

‘This was the perfect response.

‘We were determined to put things right.

‘The most pleasing thing was we kept our structure and shape from start to finish.

‘We had total domination in a fantastic all-round team performance.

‘It was great to show what we are really capable of.’