PORTSMOUTH COMMAND...LET THE COMPETITION BEGIN!!
With the domestic league season well underway, it was time for the Command players to stand up and be counted prior to the start of this year's competition. A newly formed TSG headed up by head coach PO Kai Blackett (RNLA Collingwood), with Assistant Coach CPO Sid Street (HMS Victory), POPT Helen Richardson (Collingwood) as Team Manger and Mrs Joyce Evans as physio were ready to look at all prospective players for this season's squad. Portsmouth based ships and units were very proactive in putting forward their players and 30 lads turned up at United Services Ground ready to be put through their paces.
Neil McRoberts, Head Coach of US Portsmouth RFC kindly agreed to a friendly mid week fixture and ensured the right level of squad were selected so both teams could achieve effective play.
After a light training session, Portsmouth was ready to go with CPO Smallbone (HMS Liverpool) at the helm as captain. Portsmouth's defence was tested right from the kick off and despite some well drilled play by US, it took them 18 minutes to cross the try line, which was converted. With 30 minutes played the first subs were made by Portsmouth, with four players being replaced. LPT Sanderson (HMS Nelson) was the first to make the break and as he raced towards the try line supported by PO Botwood (MWS Collingwood), he was unlucky to be brought down just shy of the try line. Half-time score Portsmouth Command 0 - 7 US Portsmouth.
With more changes made by Portsmouth at half time it wasn't long before they crossed the try line. LPT Sanderson dodged the US defence and sprinted the ball over the line, this was converted by PO Botwood. As Portsmouth settled into their play, it was only another 10 minutes before ET Thompson (MWS Collingwood) scored and again PO Botwood found the centre of the posts. US were quick to reply with United Services and Portsmouth player AB Emery scoring just three minutes later. The final 10 minutes saw a flurry of breaks by both side, with LPT Sanderson again making the break and scoring in the far corner, this time converted by CPO Smallbone. The last play saw US Portsmouth score to make the result 21-21.
A great start by Portsmouth Command and with a solid database now formed, Head Coach Kai Blackett is confident that Portsmouth will travel to Scotland to play the first round of the Inter Commands with a squad that will go far in the competition.
The management of Portsmouth Command Rugby Union wishes to thank Commanding Officers and Line Managers of all players for releasing them for fixtures.