Six-try Services seal survival in style
United Services Portsmouth held their nerve to secure their London three south west status with a cracking 54-27 win over Old Tiffinians at Burnaby Road.
Services went into the game knowing that a bonus-point win would keep them up and they did it in style.
The home side scored six tries, all converted by Ben Smith who also added four penalties.
It was an emphatic win in the end and director of rugby Matt Davis was proud of his team.
He said: ‘The players were incredible and put on a display that showed just how good they can be.
‘At times we were untouchable with the rugby that we played.
‘It was a pressure game and they all rose to the occasion.
‘I had been calm all week but from the warm up until the final whistle I was a nervous wreck.
‘At the pre-match dinner it became obvious just how important the game was to the club.’
Services started on the front foot, immediately taking the game to the visitors who safe in mid-table had less to play for.
Ben Smith knocked over an early penalty and then full-back Tom Blewitt joined the line to score the opening try.
Smith, whose kicking was immaculate all game, added the conversion.
Tiffinians, however, were able to play with a freedom that saw them hit back with a try of their own.
Services refused to let this faze them and by half-time established a 30-10 lead.
Gareth Guyll capitalised on an excellent break by Nathan Bond to score a try and Blewitt grabbed his second with a superb solo effort.
Smith continued his fine kicking display with two further penalties.
For the first 10 minutes of the second half, the visitors battered the Services line without success.
‘This was an important period for us because if they had scored we might have panicked,’ said Davis.
‘Instead all 15 players put their bodies on the line and kept them out.’
The home side weathered the storm and broke out to add another try through Liam Geoghegan.
Services virtually sealed the win with what Davis reckoned was their try of the season.
The move started on their own five-metre line with a break down the wing which was carried on by powerful prop-forward Luke Davies.
Outside-half Jimmy Taylor then delivered a pinpoint cross-kick for Chris Marriott to score in the opposite corner.
‘The players came off with an increased belief in what they can achieve,’ said Davis.
‘This season has given us a taste and a better understanding of what we need to be aiming for.
‘A lot of credit needs to go to our coaching team of Jimmy Taylor, Andy Taart and Keith Molyneux.’