Porty 1sts vs Penicuick – Porty Play Well but Fail to Capitalise

Seniors Coach Jingles gives his match report:

Although I did not see vast swaths of the game as I was tied up in the trenches running the medical field hospital I will try and give the players on the park justice with my report.

The September sunshine was this week greeted with the rugby it deserved and Porty started with a bang. Executing the game plan discussed before the game, Portobello were on the front foot from the start. This proved that the Yellow and Gold’s can get out the traps. The side had seen many changes over the past 24 hours, was to see many more during the game and welcomed the 36th and 37th players of the campaign in the shape of Sean Kneeshaw and Sam Faichney.

Penicuick 5Following the opening salvo Portobello worked their way up field with some good angles and runners assisting the ball that had been run wide with Ali Bain swerving his way near to the Penicuik line. Pressure was maintained by good continuity and dynamic rucking and when the ball was worked to the left an easy 2 v 1 was executed accurately to allow Keith Jeffrey to score in the corner which the scorer picked himself up and struck a cracking conversion. This was to be his last involvement as he was to leave with a shoulder injury and replaced by Kieran Thomson

The Achilles heel of most rugby teams is to concede straight after a score and Portobello succumbed to this terrible affliction. Straight away the Porty lads did not deal with the kick off, putting pressure on their selves resulting in a lineout on the home sides 22. The ball was moved right by Penicuik and the Porty defence pattern and line speed was good, however the tackling did not match this shape and the Penicuik number 15 bulldozed over the Porty defence to score.

This was to mark a spell in the game where Porty heads were rattled with the backs being decimated and the changes on the park were wide spread ending with Conor Dempsey No 8 in the centre, Sean kneeshaw in the back row and Jack Stevenson pressganged into fullback.

Penicuik took advantage moving swiftly up field and the reporter’s man of the match (No15) for Penicuik was on the score board again scoring to the left of the posts and slotting the conversion. 7-14.

Penicuick 4Lesser sides could have crumbled at this stage with the number of injuries and the changes in personnel, however not Porty it galvanised the side and they continued to execute the game plan effectively, build pressure in the Penicuik 22 and had redressed the balance by half time when the captain Darren Roe drove over from short range and Kieran Thomson added the extras.

Porty felt they still had a real chance at half time and turned on the front foot immediately, executing the game plan, playing rugby in the Penicuik half and applying pressure which resulted in two clear cut opportunities.

Penicuick 12The first of these saw Mitch Walker making yet another brake in the strike zone and off-loading to Ali Bain who could not quite make the pass stick with the line wide open.

This was to be quickly followed by Portobello moving Penicuik all over the park, keeping good continuity and developing a three man overlap. However they were too far apart in the middle of the field and the receivers were running away from the ball. This was not lost on Penicuik’s veteran winger who read the situation, timing his interception to perfection and peeling back the years with his pace as he scampered the length of the pitch to score.

This seemed to knock the stuffing out of the Porty lads and the next two tries were scored by the visitors their 15 getting his hat trick and their loose head prop barrelling over from short range. Both were converted by the fullback bring his points tally for the day to 25

Porty came with a late flourish which saw Mitch Walker scoring a well-deserved try from short range, converted by Kieran Thomson. They continued to press for the two bonus points on offer but were unable to make it stick.

Applications for the Physios position would be welcomed by the Coaches, the Team and the Club. If you know of anyone then please let us know – competitive rates.

Penicuick 16

Porty 1sts vs Liberton

Seniors Coach Graham Inglis (Jingles) give his match report of the game on the 19th of September 2015:

A fantastic September day for playing rugby met the sides at Kirkbrae Playing Fields and Portobello would field their 34th Player of the League Campaign in just 3 games. It should be noted that Jack Stevenson became the 33rd Player of the league campaign and he acquitted himself very well at scrum half when he came on after 5minutes until he was injured late in the game.

The September sunshine was not greeted with the rugby it deserved and the first half was very uneventful as it was littered with mistakes and restart after restart. It largely moved from scrum to line out to penalty which was broken by the odd kick at goal.

Liberton had a place kicker and they deservedly went in at the break 3-0 ahead.

Portobello were up the slope and against the wind after the break and started with a bang. Good work by Niall Parkinson down the right, getting between two defenders and off-loading round the back to the well timed run of Ali Bain and the rest was elementary.

Portobello were soon on the attack again and putting together some good phase play and getting over the gain line. Starting from deep in their 22, Will Murray cut a good line and Cammy Walker was quick to read the half break receiving the off load to rampage up the pitch and throw a long pass to Ali Bain who executed a fantastic take, skinned the defence and passed inside to Chris Ainsworth. Nothing silly this time from Portobello as they recycled the ball and Mitch Walker romped through the disorganised defence to score a second for the Blue and Gold.

The Portobello Scrum had struggled all day to deal with the Liberton power and when they applied pressure on the Portobello line the referee decided it warranted a penalty try.

Liberton had stuck together as a team and weathered the Porty storm. They managed to apply pressure and through tight driving scored in the right hand corner.

The 13 Porty Players left on the field, as the referee would not allow any further replacements, did well to keep Liberton out and secure a losing bonus point.

Portobello will need to turn their fortunes around when the top of the League visit next week.

1sts vs Leith

Seniors coach Graham Inglis (Jingles) give his take on the 1sts defeat to Leith on the weekend:

As I entered the club on Saturday is was laid out ready for Ladies Day with decorations and beautiful cakes and although there had been rain it was still humid and warm. All that was needed was some of Portobello finest ladies and we were not disappointed with so many attractive supporters lining the touchline

Vs Leith 9This must have distracted the Portobello team in the first half as you would have thought they we dazzled by their beauty.

The Team saw seven changes from the week before and provided a debut for Rhys Edgar at hooker and the young Kieran Thomson on the wing.

The first half was all about Leith who quickly established a 14 point lead through two tries that were gifted through poor tackling. One down the Portobello right following good hands from the Leith backs and one through the middle following a line out lost on our throw and poor tackling.

Then came a turning point when Robbie Stewart put in a perfectly legal tackle which resulted in the Leith players momentum being stopped. Robbie lifted the player vertical an inch off the floor placed him back down and completed a dominant tackle. Unfortunately the referee deemed this to be dangerous – the only one at Cavalry Park who interpreted it this way – and brandished a yellow card. Although this had a bearing on the game it was not the reason Portobello lost.

During this period Portobello lost two tries in rapid succession as Leith made the most of their advantage.

Half time 28 – 0

The second half started with the Portobello players waking from their trance created by the beauty on show on the touchline.

Vs Leith 3They immediately built pressure in the opposition 22 and the ball was move through the hands with Eddie Robb executing an instinctive show and go with Connor Dempsey on his inside shoulder for the touchdown which was converted by Robbie Stewart.

Leith had been persistently giving away penalties for coming in from the side and it was from one of these numerous penalties that Mitch Walker recognised that Leith had dropped back for the kick and left their left flank open. He was soon galloping down their flank and glided past defenders to score Portobello’s second try.

It was all Porty at this time and Leith were trying to pull things together and Porty were not able to stem their attacks for the whole half. Leith worked their way downfield, encamping on the Porty line and eventually putting their left wing in the corner.

However Porty had the bit between the teeth and were attacking positively with bullocking runs from the pack and by Mitch Walker. This provided a 2 v 1 on the right hand side and Keith Jeffrey was quick to capitalise skinning the cover to score.

The team had left too much to do after the first half to win or gain a losing bonus, however the try bonus had become a possibility and although Leith scored again it was Porty who had the last word moving the ball down the right to put Ali Bain away to score in the corner.

If this team is going to win games they will need to play in the manner and with the heart they showed in the second half which they won 22 – 10.

Final Score 22 – 38.

1sts vs Inverleith

Perfect conditions, with only a slight cross pitch wind greeted the teams at Arboretum, for the first league game of the BT East 2 season.

Although playing on a very narrow pitch, Portobello were looking to put in place a fast paced and wide game plan. In what could be classed as a perfect start, Porty gained a penalty on the Inverleith 22, which was slotted over by Chris Britee-Steer (Cree). 3-0 Portobello.

From the resulting kick-off, whilst clearing the lines with a kick to touch, Cree took a bad knock on the ankle, which meant that after just 5 minutes of play, Portobello were forced into a substitution and a change to the back line. Keith Jeffrey moved from 15 to 10, with Robbie Stewart coming on to play full back.

Portobello continued to dominate the opening passage of play, and kicked another penalty deep into the 22. A good drive from the pack set the back line up, but unfortunately the ball went to deck. The score line could have increased, after Ali Bain took advantage of some scrappy play from both sides, and broke the Inverleith line, his chip through was perfectly weighted, but luck was on Inverleith’s side as the ball just evaded both Eddie Robb and Mitchel Walker, and they got the ball down for a 22 drop out.

The Portobello defence had been strong, with quick line speed stopping Inverleith from having too many opportunities. The chance to increase the lead, was squandered after a penalty slid just right of the posts as half time approached.

Another injury just before half time saw Donald Burn go down with a (reoccurring) knee injury. This brought David Webster (Flexi) on to prop, with Ryan Stoddart moving to hook. Flexi made an immediate impact, unfortunately it was for the wrong reasons. After the pack gave away a penalty on our 5m line, he received a yellow card. Inverleith elected to scrum again (unopposed for the next 10 minutes), they used their numbers well, and went in under the posts. Half time 7-3, Portobello unlucky not to go in ahead.

With 9 and a half minutes of the second half to play with a man down, Portobello stood firm in defence, and kept the score line as it was at half time.

That defensive effort however, had taken its toll on the Porty boys, as the line speed dropped allowing Inverleith much more possession. Although some big hits from Murray Boyter, Ronnie Mason and George Parker stopped them from scoring a try, they did manage a penalty success. 10-3.

Into the final 15 minutes of the game, and Inverleith took advantage of some poor ruck defence, as a pick and go was left to go through to score. Unconverted, 15-3.

The last 10 minutes was all Porty, with strong carries from 2nd row partnership Cammy Walker, and Darren Roe. Porty were camped in the Inverleith 22, with penalty after penalty being kicked into the corner, unfortunately the boys weren’t able to get the try which that period of play deserved.

All in all, a frustrating and disappointing afternoon for the boys in Navy and Gold, with areas to work.

Next week sees Leith RFC coming to Cavalry Park, which is also the clubs Ladies Day. 3pm kick off, see you there.