Services crush Romsey to lift promotion hope

Tom Whitehouse. Picture: Neil Marshall (171730-81)

Pearce fires warning to triumphant Portsmouth

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United Services kept their promotion ambitions on track with a confident 46-7 win over Romsey at Burnaby Road in Hampshire one.

Only three points separate the top five sides.

Services, who occupy fifth spot, are hopeful this could be their season.

Director of rugby Simon Burns believes they will have a better idea of their chances when they head into the new year.

‘Three of our next four league games are against title-chasing rivals,’ said Burns.

‘We have a really tough month ahead and it will sort out the men from the boys.

‘I am pleased with our performances and the progress we are making as a team.

‘Players are coming back and we have increased competition for places.

‘If we can come away from our games against Andover and Fordingbridge with something then we will put ourselves in a better position.’

Services were forced to move the Romsey game from the main pitch at Burnaby Road to their brand new 3G pitch across the road at HMS Temeraire.

The 3G surface suits a running game and that gave the home side the advantage over their struggling visitors.

Home full-back Bob Hoskins made the most of the conditions to run in a hat-trick of tries as Services stormed to a bonus-point win.

Both teams came out of the blocks quickly but Services soon started to put the visitors under sustained pressure.

The home side were rewarded with two tries in the opening 15 minutes, before Romsey managed to capitalise on a mistake from Hoskins to cross the whitewash.

US hit back quickly to storm into a 17-7 lead at the break.

The lethal Hoskins made up for his error by scything through the visitors’ defence for a converted try.

Burns praised the star who showed his finishing quality.

He said: ‘Hoskins is a strong runner who likes to take opponents on in contact situations.

‘The 3G surface suits his game perfectly, giving him the perfect purchase to launch his runs.

‘He is coming into good form and all three tries involved him picking up the loose ball and outpacing the defenders.’

In the second half, Romsey were quickly demoralised as Services scored some quick-fire tries.

Back-row forward Gareth Guyll benefited from another catch-and-drive situation to score.

United Services prop forward Will Rolfe then scored the best try of the game.

The prop showed a turn of pace to sprint clear and score under the posts.

Chris Marriott kicked a penalty and two conversions, with Danny Johnson also kicking a conversion.

Burns believes his men are showing a clinical touch against strugglers.

He said: ‘Now we have beaten three of them in three weeks and the latest is probably our best performance.’