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Fareham Heathens host Footy 9s

16 May 2022

After last weekend’s first taste of Footy 9s, the Portsmouth Pirates were keen to get back out there and take the field again. Matches were hosted by Fareham Heathens, with 3 teams playing in a round robin over 3 games, with each match consisting of 2 x 20 minute halves.

Match 1
The first game saw Portsmouth Pirates split their squad into two again with one side playing in the Southsea Nomads kit.

The game started at a fast pace with both teams playing end to end, but defence stood strong with strong marking from Kevon Morgan, Dan Hussey and Shashank Bala at each end. The scoring was opened when Joe o Connor Simpson took a mark in front of the posts and calmly slotted through to put the Pirates ahead. Shortly after Nomads were on the score sheet when Robbie Henwood continued his fine start to his Footy 9s career after his 5 goals last week. Some strong tackling proved it was only a friendly by name. Josh Soper and Andy Frost added to the scores and the first half ended with a goal in it, with Pirates taking a 4-3 lead.

The second half proved a stalemate for the majority of the period with neither team able to create a scoring opportunity that could be converted. This was not through the want of trying, but both defences were well on top. The midfield proved a crucial battle with both ruckmen Gave Fewell and Dan Stokes getting an even share of the tap downs. Eventually it was Dan Stokes who broke the second half deadlock and kicked the first goal of the half. With time ticking on Joe o Connor Simpson added to his tally to give Pirates a 3 goal lead. This triggered a fightback from Nomads as 2 quick goals from Ally Mills and Gav Fewell saw the gap closed to 1. Unfortunatley for Nomads time was not on their side and Pirates held on for a 6-5 win.

Final Score: Portsmouth Pirates 6 d. Southsea Nomads 5

Match 2
The second game saw Fareham Heathens play their first ever game of Footy 9s against Southsea Nomads. The first ball up saw the ball punched deep into the Heathens half but some great tackling saw the ball turned over. The clearing kick bounced into the Heathens hands and a quick kick to Jacob Bailey saw Heathens kick the first goal of the game and take an early lead. Experience showed in the next ball up as Dave McFawn managed to get the ball to the forward line before ruckman Gav Fewell scored the first of what would be 6 in the game. A very competitive first half saw 2 goals from Heathens forward John Cole. The half time score finished at 5-3 in favour of the Nomads.

The second half saw the Heathens players start to build some good link up plays with a run of 4 marks in a row building their way up the field. Unfortunately, a disallowed goal for a soccer of the ground brought the attack to an end. Nomads were made to work for every loose ball but managed to kick a couple of unanswered goals with Lewis King getting one of these after a nice break down the wing. The rest of the half saw Nomads start earn a few strong possessions from the middle and put the ball into the forward line, setting up shots at goal. Heathens kept fighting to the end and had the last say with a goal just before time for James Whitefield.

Final Score: Southsea Nomads 11 d. Fareham Heathens 5

Match 3
The third and final game was Pirates v Heathens.

Having got a game under their belt the Heathens lads were keen to push on and started strongly, winning the early possession battle and getting the ball into their forward line. Unfortunately, their shots at goal sailed just wide of the posts, but they kept the Pirates pinned into their own half. Eventually, Pirates managed to get the ball out of the defensive line and a great ball from Shashank saw John Titcombe open the scoring. The Pirates pressure then started to tell with 3 more unanswered goals. Heathens were not going to roll over though, and 2 quick goals from Cam Guthrie and Tristian Watson bought the Heathens back into the contest. Pirates were to have the last say of the half with a couple of quick goals from Brad Yates. Half time Pirates led 6-2.

The second half saw a change of approach from Heathens, with great hand passing unlocking the Pirates defence. A couple of quick goals got them right back in the contest, with John Cole the provider on both occasions. Pirates managed to stem the flow with some pressure tackling turning the ball over on the half way line, before Joe o Connor Simpson added to his goal tally for the day. Heathens answered straight back with another goal bringing the score to 7-5 with around 5 minutes to play. The experience told in this period, with Pirates ruckman Dan Stokes assisting the midfield to get on top and score a couple of quick goals from each restart – with Brad Yates and Josh Soper both scoring. As the game drew to its close, Pirates added a couple more goals to finish the match.

Final Score: Portsmouth Pirates 11 d. Fareham Heathens 5

It was great to witness Fareham Heathens first ever games of Footy 9s. All three games were played in a great spirit with a competitive nature. Despite Heathens lack of playing experience they were well in each contest and have shown they have great potential to kick from this first taster to become an excellent team in the future.

The post match game saw the traditional Best of Ground awards form each team as well as the much anticipated boat race. It was Pirates once again that claimed the glory in the all important boat race with Heathens coming in second ahead of Nomads.

Best on grounds were awarded to:

  • Gave Fewell (Nomads)
  • Joe o Connor Simpson (Pirates)
  • John Cole (Heathens)