Portsmouth extend lead in Varsity 2015-16

Victory in American football gives Portsmouth early advantage

This past weekend saw the second match of this season’s Varsity take place as the American Football teams of Portsmouth and Southampton once again squared off. The Southampton Stags were looking to avenge the 24-8 defeat last month, whilst the Portsmouth Destroyers went in search of another victory to build upon their impressive start to the season. Unfortunately history was doomed to repeat itself and despite and improved performance from the Stags, it was Portsmouth who walked away with the win, the game ending with a 14-8 score line in favour of the Destroyers.

Game Over: The teams show respect to one another after a long battle lasting over two hours

With the match taking place in Portsmouth, the Stags were not impressed when they turned up to find less than acceptable playing conditions. With the Stags struggling to adjust to the difficult conditions they were faced with, Portsmouth capitalised and stormed into an early lead. Dominating the first and second quarter, the Destroyers went into half-time with a 14-0 lead thanks to a touchdown in either quarter. Some of the Stags players trudged into the locker room at half-time feeling rather disappointed with the referees, who they felt were not picking up on some dirty plays by the Portsmouth team.

However the coaches talk during the interval injected a new sense of focus into the Stags and the effects of the talk were evident in the second half, with the defence really sharpening up and the Southampton lads managing to counter the occasional dirty play by the Destroyers. For a team still filled with a large number of rookie players for this season, the performance in the second half was much closer to what you’d expect from a team of university veterans.

The conditions were no longer a problem and after using the third quarter to stabilise themselves, the Stags threw everything they had at the Portsmouth defence in the final quarter. Managing to break through once to score a touchdown, there was still a glimmer of hope. An additional safety point for the Stags meant they only needed one more touchdown to win, but alas, the Portsmouth defence was just about up to the task, keeping the Stags offence at bay and scrapping through until the final whistle.

So it is Portsmouth who secured another victory in the opening stages of Varsity, but it is far from over for Team Southampton and the hope of defending the coveted crown is still very much alive. As for the Southampton Stags, despite losing to Portsmouth for the second time in a month, there is still an air of optimism surrounding the team, with the coaches impressed by the team’s ability to fight through awful conditions and dirty play to control the second half of the game.