Happy start to the New Year despite defeat
- Sunday, 08 January 2017
1st XV Head Coach Barry Bridgman declared himself "very pleased" after his side limited Havant to just a 0-36 win at Gosport Park yesterday when all the pre-match omens were for yet another big score being racked up writes Brian Seeney.
No wonder there were misgivings before kick-off. Gos have conceded 341 points in their five matches so far against the top four sides and have scored just 30.
With home games against Sidcup and Tunbridge Wells to come still and facing second- placed Havant yesterday, it was perhaps this fear of another heavy loss that kept the sizeable crowd unusually quiet.
"There is a sense of euphoria even in defeat but it's because we have lost heavily to so many sides this season and because at Havant it was 77-5 to them, then halving that (losing) score difference makes it seem like a win and that's why I'm very pleased," said Bridgman.
"Havant were cocksure they were going to come here and score 100 points and that's why this result contributes to people's feeling of euphoria.
"We really put in a performance today. I thought we defended very well but what's pleasing is that we worked hard in the week in two quite brutal training sessions tackling hard in and full-on sessions even on Thursday night.
Clear - Wayne Dugan breaks in the match yesterday. Photo: Chris Roberts. More pictures in the Photo Gallery now.
"The main thing that contributed to all of that today was having some personnel back with a proper 10 back (Alex Cooksley) that enabled us to put Rory (Penfold) and Kieran (Darrington) back to their best positions (on the wing) and having Wayne (Dugan) at centre again.
"Today we were doing things we've talked about doing instead of leaving them behind in the dressing room or on the training paddock other weeks. Today we took it all out there with us."
An interception try on 20 minutes which was converted was followed by a penalty on the half hour and Havant were leading by only 0-10 at the break.
Havant scored two converted tries in the 50th and 59th minutes and when Gos were tiring, two more in a two minute spell (77 and 79 minutes) the fourth converted.
"Our lineout didn't perform particularly well and there's work to be done there but our scrummage went well," said Bridgman
"Our defensive patterns worked well and people worked for one another.
"We managed to stop their early ball and we shut down Joel Knight who is a game winner on his own.
"We deserved to come much closer to them than they expected us to.
"Unfortunately we didn't take an early chance and in all the euphoria after the game we have to take cognisance of the fact that we were camped in their half a lot but didn't come away with any points at all."
After this display, Gos now have a long haul trip to Gravesend next Saturday looking for that first win of the season and they can go there with confidence if the players who did so well against Havant yesterday are available to play.
"It will depend upon availabilities but I would be really happy if we could get that side that to Kent next week. Obviously we need to improve and get better in some areas because we didn't score and we are not going to beat sides if we can't score," said Bridgman.
"What I don't want is to be going to Kent scratching around to find a team to take..."