With a final at stake it was an understandably nervous start to the proceedings with Royal Free and University College Medical School (RUMS) having the better of affairs and putting Portsmouth under a lot of pressure.
An early penalty was given and converted by the RUMS, and although they had only been playing for a short time, it was deserved. Luckily this premature opposition outbreak prompted Portsmouth into action.
Their first real attack led to the ball going out for a line out. After winning this, they put their opponents under considerable pressure. The home side were able to maintain possession and Matt Rhodes burst through the RUMS’ defence to enable Adam Valance to press home the first points. A successful conversion saw the Portsmouth side hold their heads high, as it appeared that the tables had been turned.
Continuing their impressive outbreak, Portsmouth’s Joe Cleary scored another two tries and one conversion, to insure some breathing space in the score line, taking it to 19-3.
After this, the game swung away from Portsmouth for a considerable amount of time, as the RUMS fiercely struck back. However, Portsmouth weathered the storm and despite the pressure it was the home side that scored next. The ball managed to be driven over the line by a heap of players and it was followed by a swift conversion for 26-10.
The second half began worryingly with the home side conceding two tries in an identical fashion. A passing movement near the half way line led to a quick paced break away for the RUMS, allowing their player to run half the length of the pitch without a single tackle and score. Fortunately for the home side, one of the conversions was missed, but the score was still narrowed to 26- 22.
Three substitutions were made for the home side in response to the fresh RUMS come back. Immediately Portsmouth worked their way up to being on the front foot again, despite the growing tension as the following minutes would decide the end fate.
It appeared that the match belonged to Portsmouth, their first considerable attack of the half led to the RUMS defending close to their try line. A quick ball out to the wings allowed Matt Rhodes to score vital points for Portsmouth.
A successful conversion only sweetened the deal moments later. From here, the performance of the first half returned as the home side breezed into the final, with two tries coming courtesy of Andy Gray, sealing the place in the final. Finishing at 47-22 and a late yellow card for an aerial tackle by a RUMS player only rubbed the salt further into the wound.
The performance satisfied the Portsmouth captain Will Williams: “Towards the end we composed ourselves and we’re now through to the South East Conference Cup final.
“Fortunately we’ve got St George’s in the final and we beat them last week in the league”.