The University of Portsmouth’s Men’s Rugby Seconds won an intense and dramatic match against the University of Brighton 26-25 in the dying embers of the clash.
A hat-trick of tries from centre Bertie Wells secured the points.
The result sees Pompey maintain third position in the South Eastern 3A league on ten points.
On an uncharacteristically sunny and still day at Langstone, the visitors started the better side, winning turnovers and scrums quickly inside the first five minutes.
As one of Pompey’s players came off to be attended to for a head injury, a physical Brighton side were beginning to assert dominance.
Before too long Brighton were ahead. Taking advantage of a disciplinary mistake, the visitors fly half slotted a perfectly weighted shot through the posts for 3-0.
Brighton took advantage at the restart immediately breaking through Pompey’s lines and dashing in for what seemed an obvious try.
However, luckily for Pompey the ball was fumbled right before the try line and the visitors failed to increase their lead.
Surprisingly, two minutes later after such dominance from Brighton, Pompey took the lead.
Regrouping after the penalty, the forwards broke through Brighton’s line. A clever hand off from the inside line then released Bertie Wells for his first try of the tie.
Tom Jennings, the fly half, made it 7-3 by converting the try scored right under the posts.
Pompey now looked the stronger side and were utilising the pace of their wingers to good effect.
Although ahead, a little complacency then tickled the home side when from the restart, Brighton grubbered the ball through the defence and their fullback dived on it for the try.
The resulting conversion made it 10-7 to the visitors ten minutes from half time.
Andy Till, clearly inspired by the previous try, then managed to grubber the ball through the line to create some options but unfortunately the ball went straight out of play.
The half was drawn to a close when Brighton slotted another penalty away for 13-7.
Pompey restarted the second half within a converted try of the lead. The home side were buoyed on by a large fan base at Langstone which would prove crucial to the result.
Till started the second half as he had finished the first, making short sharp dashes through Brighton’s wingers and gaining territory with every step.
It paid off when Pompey won a scrum which would eventually lead to another try from Wells.
Portsmouth broke well from the scrum and a few consecutive off loads and pops lead to Wells having a clear dash to under the posts.
Painfully, Jennings then missed the conversion from right under the posts to keep Brighton in the lead, 13-12.
Pompey, now making a habit of conceding right after scoring, conceded another try to the visitors when their winger broke the defences line and scored in the corner.
A monstrous kick from the touch line somehow found its way through the posts for 20-12.
A resilient Portsmouth didn’t allow their heads to slip though and were soon back at it again.
Bertie Wells brought up his hat-trick when the ball was fumbled around Brighton’s try line, eventually coming back to Wells who then skilfully stepped inside his man to score a try.
Jenning’s made sure he made it 20-19 by converting under the posts.
The next five minutes would prove to be incredibly physical. Portsmouth held well at the line outs and scrums but disastrously had to take off hat-trick hero Bertie Wells who picked up an ankle injury.
The final ten minutes were a blur. The pressure was mounting on the leaders Brighton who were cracking under the weight.
Pompey looked the fresher side and played well to get another try. The crowd went wild and celebrations erupted as the home side ground the game out to secure the 26-25 win.
The result leaves Portsmouth third in the table. They next play league leaders Roehampton firsts away from home and then New Buckinghamshire firsts at Langstone on the 16th November.
All photos by Alex Fiske