Sitting comfortably mid-table, with no promotion prospects in view, Warlingham would be forgiven if they had not given this long distance away fixture their all, but the Hamsey Green side have shown considerable grit and determination, especially against the higher teams in this difficult league. US Portsmouth were fortunate to be awarded a last-minute penalty for offside in the centre to snatch the winning league points and to still have a slim chance of promotion.
The home side went ahead early doors with an unconverted try but a charge through the midfield by centre David Priest made good yardage. An try-scoring pass to winger Tom Webster equalled the score. US Portsmouth went ahead again with a try in the corner, with the difficult conversion successful. Again Warlingham responded with some slick backs move putting full back Harry Spencer in under the posts. Centre Joe McEvoy slotted the conversion to draw level at half time.
Shortly after the break US Portsmouth again took the lead with a break away converted try. For a while the game became disjointed with some niggling infringements resulting in yellow cards being waved at both a home side and Warlingham player. Taking the initiative, fly half John Hoskyn marshalled his back line
and several attacks at the home try line were thwarted by infringements. The dependable McEvoy punished the offences with three well-struck penalties to put the visitors two points to the good and with the clock ticking. Warlingham looked to have scalped the home side but a harsh 80 minute penalty meant they travelled
home with just the one League bonus point. Team manager Anthony Barrington-Doe said, “All the boys gave it their all but David Priest in the centre was quite outstanding. Very disappointed not to come away with the win.”
Next Saturday Warlingham host Andover RFC and all spectators welcome.
Saturday also saw the annual ‘international match’ at Warlingham when their Veterans side took on their Parisian counterparts, Stade Francais RFC, whom they beat 35 points to 25. This fixture is in it’s 41st year and, Brexit or not, will take place in Paris next season..
Updated 16:20 - 11 Feb 2019 by Peter Upton