David Holby’s late try was not enough to rescue the points against Portsmouth University’s second team, with the away side holding on for a 20-10 victory.
Kingston’s first team could not build upon last week’s thrashing of Chichester and they were overpowered by a strong Portsmouth side in a tight game at Tolworth Court.
Captain Holby said: “It was a very tough game today but I think that at times we made them look a lot better then they were. They didn’t necessarily win this game, more so we gifted it to them.”
The game was evenly contested throughout, with both teams having their own spells of sustained possession. The difference between the sides was the number of mistakes.
Kingston gave away a number of penalties in the first half and in such a close game these mistakes took their toll. The away side’s fly half, Barney Cowie, was on top form and converted four out of five penalty opportunities before the hour mark.
The Cougars beat Portsmouth by the same scoreline in November. Holby commented: “At their place earlier in the season we managed to be more effective in defence. But today our game plan never really got into action and that let us down.”
After Portsmouth dominated the opening 20 minutes and drew out a 9-0 lead, the home side rallied and began to get a foothold in the game.
Kingston’s backs were effective throughout and led the charge to get back into the match. Their efforts were rewarded when the ever reliable Craig Felston scored a penalty just before half time.
Holby said: “We never had a great platform to work from this week. Our set pieces weren’t on point and we lost numerous amounts of scrums and lineouts. It’s a sore loss and it hurts but I’m sure we will bounce back like we always do.”
The second half followed a similar pattern with both teams trading chances and turnovers. Both sides showed their best quality rugby in the final five minutes.
First Portsmouth moved the ball quickly and accurately along their back line until finding Ryan Cunningham. The winger, who had squandered two earlier chances, finished well to put the away side in touch of victory.
From the returning kick-off, Kingston showed why they too are near the top of the league. More good work from the Cougars’ backs released Holby to powerfully finish for the try.
Felston successfully kicked the conversion but it was to be the last kick of the game and Portsmouth ran out winners, 20-10.