Despite the absence of the influential centre David Priest and No 8 Paddy Green, Warlingham did the double over second placed Portsmouth. Proving that their youth policy is thriving, Warlingham fielded a clutch of teenagers including 18 year old Harry Cave on his debut at lock. Portsmouth looked to have suffered from the journey as Warlingham took the game to them against the elements and, after several phases the ball was shifted to the right flank to captain John Fox who scored the first try in the corner. This spurred the visitors out of lethargy and they swiftly moved into Warlingham’s danger zone. But a robust tackle from full back Harry Spencer snuffed out the move.
Portsmouth spurned two kickable penalties and opted for five metre lineouts, but the home defence, recently being coached by former Canadian international Richard Thorpe, held firm. To add to their woes, Portsmouth had two open chances to make the try line but butchered both opportunities and the scoreboard remained zero for them.
Playing with a bitter wind in the second half, Warlingham added a penalty through the dependable fly half Joe McEvoy after Portsmouth had missed a kick of their own. McEvoy slotted a second penalty to put clear ground between the sides. With prop Mike Freeman and flanker Richard Hayward tackling hard at the gain line, Portsmouth were having
Updated 10:10 - 17 Apr 2019 by Peter Jerrom
problems going forward. The lineouts were dominated by Ben Warman and Jamie Curtis and flanker Alex Skinner was his usual terrier-type nuisance at the breakdown. A cleverly worked back line move gave centre Tom Webster some room to move and his accurate pass put Spencer in space. He turned his opposite number inside out and got the second try. McEvoy effortlessly added the conversion into a howling wind and from the tramlines – so Portsmouth would have to score three times to get anything out of the game. They battled to the end and scored two tries, one from a rolling maul and the second via their quick winger, but neither were converted and Warlingham ran out worthy winners.
After the game Director of Rugby, Nick Warren said, “I was pleased that we showed considerable maturity today by keeping our discipline and playing in the right areas of the pitch. The younger players also showed they can hold their place which is really encouraging going forward.”
Warlingham’s next game is on 9th February away to United Services Portsmouth, who are one place above Warlingham in fourth place.