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Tottonians silence Portsmouth's big guns
Tottonians kicked off their campaign with a home win over a strong-looking Hampshire opponents Portsmouth.
Totts seized their chances when they were offered and defended their try line stoutly – while down to 13 men for a period – as Portsmouth’s big guns tried to muscle their way over.
Coach Gavin Williams put the 27-13 victory down to his side’s stamina and praised fitness coach Mark Turner, who is about to leave the club to work with Harlequins.
“I feel a mixture of pride and relief,” declared Williams. “The character we showed when we went down to 13 men was outstanding.
“We asked them for a big performance at the start of the game and in that ten-minute period they could have buckled but refused to.
“I must pay tribute to Mark as our fitness levels were noticeably better than our opponents.”
Totts held a 13-5 half-time lead through two Robbie Searle penalties and a conversion after Ollie Northover had crashed over.
Centre Gareth Allen evaded three tackles to increase the advantage but Portsmouth hit back with a penalty – their kicker missed several other attempts – and a try when Totts pair Nick Jones and Dan Stocks were yellow carded.
Portsmouth went close to crossing again but defiant defending, typified by some trademark tackles from fullback Scott Rogers, held the visitors at bay until Totts were back to full strength.
Tottonains sewed up the game with the last play of the match – winger Richard Buck raced up the line and was tackled in the Portsmouth 22, but Northover picked up and forced his way over. Robbie Searle made the conversion.
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