UoP BUCS Roundup - 11 December
'Becoming fearless isn't the point. That's impossible. It's learning how to control your fear and how to be free from it, That's the point! – Four, DIVERGENT' – from the pen of Veronica Roth.
Stats what we wanted for Christmas:
In a shortened programme, of just 12 fixtures, Pompey had a strong away showing, winning 3 of their 4 matches on the road and recording an excellent Win Ratio of 75%. A top effort by those teams in action, as all 3 were excellent standalone victories. At Home, Pompey recorded an impressive 6 wins and a draw from their 8 fixtures, which again saw us record an excellent Win Ratio of 75%. Mathematicians across the globe will be scrabbling around, scratching heads and bottoms to figure out what our total looked like this week – but I'll put you out of your misery and reveal that we have an overall Win Ratio of 75% to celebrate, rounding off an excellent first term's work by all our clubs. In what can be a notoriously difficult fixture week, this is outstanding news and yes, of course, if we'd recorded figures like this and broken through 70% in a 30-40 fixture game-week you would see me cartwheeling through Old Portsmouth with a 99 Flake from Mr. Whippy on my head, I, as are we all, am suitably satisfied with these excellent performances. Am I satisfied enough to pack grass into an empty sandwich container and Sellotape it to my back pretending that I am a Ninja Turtle named Donatello!? Yes, I think I am...
Now let's hear about those wins, shall we!?
Women's 1sts were in no mood to go quietly into the winter break, as a second half blitz saw them return from Hertfordshire with their biggest win of the season to date, as they triumphed, 4-0, on the day. Grace Laidlaw with her first competitive goal for the club opened the scoring with a well-executed volley in the 57th minute, before Phillippa Cowley laid on Kennedy Rankin to grab the second just past the hour mark. Three minutes later and Cowley powered a header into the back of the net for Pompey's third in a remarkable 9 minute spell that ended the hosts resistance. Sharna Capel-Watson with her 5th of the season rounded off the scoring with further assists from Kennedy Rankin and Sarah Saunders as Pompey recorded their fourth top-flight win of an impressive campaign.
This result all but secures 4th spot in the Women's Premier South Division, but if Pompey can return to the South Coast with a victory in the valleys, in their final league match against Cardiff on the 29th of January, they could yet overtake Bath and pip them to 3rd place, with their South West rivals set to face title challenging, Cardiff Met 1sts on the same day. We will bring you news of what could be an historic day for Women's 1sts in what has been a superb season for the team, when we return in the New Year.
Men's 2nds took on Surrey 2nds in Guildford and were simply superb as they recorded an impressive 5-1 win, in what has been a topsy-turvy SE3A this season, where just six points separate 2nd and 6th place. A Man of the Match performance from Kenny Arda and goals from Lewis Haldane, Conor Tucker, Semi Akinlolu, Azeez Eleguishi and Callum Reeves, with assists shared between Reeves  and Haldane  sees Pompey up to fourth, following what was easily their best display of the season so far. Next up, the 2's travel to Kingston 1sts on the 15th January, but will no doubt head into the Winter break in confident mood following this excellent performance.
Men's 1sts took a huge step towards securing their Premier 2 South safety with an excellent draw at Home against Reading 1sts on a bitter-cold evening under the lights at Langstone. Pompey got off to a superb start, scoring in the opening minutes before withstanding heavy pressure from the away side, with some excellent tackling and defensive work. Reading eventually levelled things, before Pompey hit them with a well taken second try to send them in ahead at the break. The two teams went at it again in the second half but couldn't be separated as this one finished 17-17. Ryan Newton was Man of the Match for his brace of tries and an overall excellent performance, whilst Arthur Robinson got the other try and added a conversion. Pompey now sit on 10 points from their 7 matches, 3 clear of Brighton and 5 clear of Gloucestershire. With vital matches against both teams to come in the New Year, the 1's have their fate in their own hands, and with recent improved performances, know they have what it takes to retain their seat at one of the top tables.
Women's 1sts continued their superb start to the season with a narrow victory over UCL 1sts, winning 36-29, and in doing so continued their excellent record of winning 4 league matches out of 4 and securing valuable bonus points in each win, running in over 4 Tries per match every week. Carrie Whymark continued her excellent season, scoring her 8th and 9th tries of the season and kicking 3 conversions. Jess Charles scored 2 more tries to take her season tally to 6 and Jade Baker and Amelia Dodd also crossed the whitewash to complete the scoring for the hosts. Pompey hold a solid lead at the top but will have one eye on unbeaten Brunel sitting back in third place, knowing the title will come down to the two meetings to be played out between the sides in the New Year. Next up for Pompey is a Home tie against 2nd placed, LSE 1sts at Langstone on the 22nd January, where they will look to hit their sixth win on the spin in league and cup, as they look to keep alive that superb unbeaten record through 2020.
A great day at the office for Women's 1sts, who cranked up the heat when they needed to, to record a vital win at Spinnaker as they overcome a depleted St. Mary's 1sts 7-1. Pompey welcomed back the excellent, Emily Beach who was named Player of the Match as she won her 2 singles encounters comfortably to remain unbeaten this season. Despite illness, Cynthia Sathiyarajan bravely fought her way through an opening 3-setter to also claim two huge wins in her singles encounters and things continued to go to plan in the Doubles. Weishan Low and Hau Yi Lau won both of their matches and Jing Jia Choo and Halimah Tasnim scored another point by winning one of their matches, just missing out in a third set decider in the other. A superb result which sees Pompey right back in the mix in the title race. Only a point behind St. George's 1sts with a game in hand and their opponents yet to visit Spinnaker, Pompey very much have things in their own hands. They must also face rivals Sussex twice in February, who sit 2 points back with a game in hand, creating what looks like a 3-way battle for the title in the New Year, even though 4th place St. Mary's could also still have a say in the outcome, as SE2A remains wide open going into 2020. The 1's first match after the break sees them travel to Essex 2nds on the 29th January, before they turn their attentions to a Quarter Final tie at Home to Brighton 1sts the week after. Exciting times lie ahead! Oh, and did I mention Jia Ming See was at the match? No, well I should have done.
Here's Club Captain Tom White with his report on how an incredibly tense evening of cup action panned out at Langstone –
'After a crushing win last week against Chichester, we felt very confident coming into this game. However, having a large squad of 21 players ended up not playing into our favour as chemistry and understanding was compromised. We took a 2-point lead but after changing our line-up around we started conceding points and the game soon became a back and forth affair, the kind of game we were dreading. We started to lose control and subsequently to concede more points. Our game changed, we were playing longer throws which we knew wasn't going to work but we still committed to it. After losing 8-7 at the break we decided to change up our strategy, making more but shorter throws until we could make a ten or so yard pass into the Endzone for a point. With this being our biggest game this season to date, we couldn't afford to lose this match up, especially at home.
Moving into the second half we were pumped up and ready to turn this game around, playing our Joker Line (our line of experienced players) as we knew the next couple of points would be pivotal. After layouts from the majority of the squad to keep the dream alive, we powered on bringing the game to an 8-8 score line.
The full 70 minutes of play were up, and we moved onto Universal Point – which is where a team scores one point then they need one more to win – meaning that the first to get to 10 points would win it. We played Line 2 to start this off but with an unfortunate turnover half way up the field, Chichester capitalised and sent one straight into our Endzone for them to go 9-8 up. It was now or never for us so we played our 'Joker' line once again, and with an assist from Robbie Bratchell to myself (Thomas White) we were tied at 9-9!
The next point would win it and go through to the Cup Final. The 'Joker' line stayed on and starting the point on Defence we had to get a turnover and then maintain possession otherwise it would be all over. With an incredibly tight man to man defence, we forced the error, making Chichester send the disc into the ground. This was our time, the one point we needed to convert. Playing a very careful Offence with short passes we played down the left wing, sending in from Robbie to Ben, back to Robbie to myself, to Michael...then straight in front of Harry Allen for a catch in the Endzone. GAME! We had come back from 8-9 down in Universal Point to win 10-9, keeping the National's dream alive and sending Portsmouth straight into the Cup Final in February. Maintaining our 100% win ratio at home this season was the best feeling ever, although we had to feel sorry for Chichester, losing two consecutive points when it mattered most.'
A scintillating and fitting finish at Langstone under the Wednesday Night lights. So with 2 points apiece from Harry Allen, Ben Kilgariff and Nick Stonehouse and further scores from Stephen Heather, Harry White, Robbie Bratchell and Thomas White, along with assists from Michael Wakelyn-Green  T. White  Bratchell, H.White, Cameron Lewis, Kilgariff and Ben Glover, Pompey did indeed book their place in the Final, where they will travel to the winner of Brighton 1sts and Sussex 2nds.
Next up after the Winter break, the 1's host Sussex 2nds in the league as they look to maintain their position at the top, after what has been a terrific campaign so far.
Men's 2nds produced a solid performance to overcome Roehampton 1sts at the Tennis Dome yesterday, as they claimed their second league win of the season and secured a 4-2 win which takes them up to 3rd in the Tier 2 Table, level on points with Sussex 1sts. Man of the Match, Henry Berzins set Pompey on their way with a 6-1, 6-4 win in his opening singles match, and Ellis Drayton also recorded a comfortable win 6-1, 6-2 over his opponent and with Jonny Stammers being awarded victory in his match, Pompey led 3-1 after Singles. With Dimitry Andrianov and Drayton being awarded their match, a close defeat in the other Doubles encounters could not prevent Pompey from claiming the points in this one, to end the year on a high note. Pompey welcome Sussex 1sts on January 29th in their return to action in the New Year.
And finally with a report featuring the latest news from Athletics here is their Track Captain, Cameron Maguire –
'At the Middlesex University Open Student Championships, the University of Portsmouth Athletics Club won 6 medals, including a silver-bronze double by Jasmine McCallum in the High Jump and Shot Put. The Men's 4 x 200m relay team, consisting of Aston Lockwood, Clinton Obijaku, Kehinde Adenuga and Rhys Pearce won Bronze as did Melisa Sachou in the 800m. Dan Slayford and Sarah Hall also won Bronze medals in the Men's and Women's 3000m respectively. Amongst the many impressive performances by Portsmouth on the day were 7 personal bests, with three in each of the Men's 60m and 3000m. Additionally, Rhys Pearce PB'd in the 400m with 54.80 against his previous best of 55.5. Two of the biggest PB's were from Aston Lockwood who improved his 60m time by 0.24 to get to 7.19 and Dan Slayford who improved by 28 seconds to claim his bronze medal.
- High Jump Women: Jasmine McCallum – 2nd – 1.50m
- 3000m Women: Sarah Hall – 3rd – 11:29.83
- 3000m Men: Dan Slayford – 3rd – 9:15.38 – PB (prev. 9:43)
- Long Jump Women: Jasmine McCallum – 3rd – 4.86m
- 800m Women: Melisa Sachou – 3rd – 2:40.36
- 4 x 200m Men: Aston Lockwood, Clinton Obijaku, Kehinde Adenuga, Rhys Pearce – 3rd – 1:35.18
- 400m Men: Rhys Pearce – 54.80 – PB (prev. 55.5)
- 60m Men: Aston Lockwood – 7.19 – PB (prev. 7.43)
- 60m Men: Kehinde Adenuga – 7.42 – PB (prev. 7.55)
- 60m Men: Jonah Wrigglesworth – 7.51 – PB (prev. 7.53)
- 3000m Men: Dan Slayford – 3rd – 9:15.38 – PB (prev. 9:43)
- 3000m Men: Felix Smithson – 9:54.97 – PB (prev. 10:34)
- 3000m Men: Cameron Maguire – 10:07.08 – PB (prev. 10:36)
Completely unrelated fact of the day:
Were you aware that Mistletoe – well known in party circles as the 'Kissy-Kissy-Smackarooka-Berry – is actually an ancient symbol of fertility and virility? Druids, like my good friend, Merlin, who you may recall from tales of Arthurian legend or from a BBC Boxset, believed Mistletoe to be an aphrodisiac. Now that doesn't mean it makes your hair fuzzy, makes you giddy and tastes disgusting, you're getting that confused with the Affro-Dizzy-Yack berry. No, this means that the druids believed that eating the berries gave rise, ahem... to a huge increase in the Druid epidemic known as the Netflixiandchill phenomena... However, if Merlin, Mug Ruith, Bodhmall and their ilk truly understood the meaning of the word in its Germanic tongue, they would have realised what a real passion killer it truly was...as roughly translated the word 'Mistletoe' in this particular tongue means Dung on a Twig… Who said romance was dead!?
So 'Dung on a Twig' – how did we get there? Many scholars believe it is simply the shape of the berries that gives them its name, but some eminent etymologists believe the Mistle Thrush to be responsible. The bird consumes the plant's berries, digest its seeds and then poops them out in the form of droppings, which would then grow into a new plant, a la, Dung on a Twig Mark 2! This then leads us to that age old question, which came first the Mistletoe or the Mistle Thrush – I think I'll just go and have a Chicken Omelette and mull that over...
Merry Christmas Everyone!
Rest Up! You've earned it!
*The BUCS Round Up will return in the New Year, but look out for our '12 Days of Purple' series starting on Boxing Day and running through into 2020, for our half term reports on our clubs and their individual performances. There will also be a Winter Wash Up feature in late January where we will round up all of the action from Mid-late December and early January as our teams return to BUCS action.