Everyone's a winner - at last
- Sunday, 22 January 2017
The 1st XV got their first win of the season beating Chiswick 25-15 at Gosport Park yesterday which Head Coach Barry Bridgman described as "a real pleasure" and "thoroughly deserved" writes Brian Seeney.
Gos came from behind by reversing a 10 point deficit at 5-15, then centre Wayne Dugan danced and jinked his way through the Chiswick defence in the 70th minute for the winning try.
Full back Tom Lewis converted then added a penalty two minutes into the four-and-a-half minutes of time added on, to seal their first victory for a year and 12 days.
It was a triumph earned by every one of the 18 players on duty and after some terrible trouncings this season, the joy and relief of a win at last could be seen on the faces of every player, all the coaching staff and not least, the Gosport Park crowd.
"It's a real pleasure to get the first win of the season having taken 17 goes to achieve it," said a delighted Bridgman.
"It's at home which is a really good thing because although we want to get the away (win) monkey off our backs, if you are going to get your first win you might as well do it in front of your home crowd.
"I thought we thoroughly deserved it. We battled all afternoon as is usual. We battle every week but this week we had something to battle for.
"It was a good win and hard fought. I thought our tackling was immense and most of the afternoon we tackled really well. We missed a few (tackles) but we managed to scramble back a lot of the time."
In the opening 11 minutes, Gos weathered a predictable Chiswick onslaught from a side fighting to get put more space between themselves and the bottom three teams - Gos who are bottom but now with five points and Brighton and Dover on 11 points apiece.
Twice the visitors were over the try line and held up early on and although Chiswick eventually took the lead with a 15th minute penalty, skipper Wes Dugan put Gos ahead in the 25th minute with one of his typical tap and go tries.
The visitors regained the lead with a 38th minute try then stretched their advantage seven minutes into the second half to 5-15.
Dugan does it - Wayne cllnches victory with the third Gos try yesterday. Photo: Chris Roberts. More pictures in the Photo Gallery later.
This is when Gos could easily have crumbled but they fought back for a second time, Lewis slotting a 23 metre penalty from in front of the posts on 56 minutes when he could easily have let the pressure of the kick get to him.
On 61 minutes Wes Dugan got his second try which Lewis improved and it was 15-15 until Wayne Dugan crossed the try line after dancing one then another with three defenders still hanging on to him in vain.
"They were two typical Wesley tries. Wayne's was an excellent try - a lovely try," continued Bridgman.
"I thought we wasted a couple of chances in the first half when we could have scored and it would have been nice if we had put one of them away and got the bonus point as well.
"And if I was going to be hypercritical we didn't get the ball to our wings enough.
"But Tom Lewis had a really good game and was superb at full back and full praise to Will Larkin in his first full game because he played really, really well when he hasn't got the experience at this level. He did what a seven should do - always on the ball, tackling and being annoying.
"I think Chunk (Daniel O'Donoghue) had a terrific game - he grafted all afternoon and effected two really good turnovers.
"It's a happy changing room and relief to win. In my speech before the game I told them they deserved a win and said it's about time you went out and got one because this is the best chance you've had in a long time to really nail one.
"We knew we had to play like we did against Havant and we managed to shut Chiswick down for a lot of the time although we did have a few slips and lapses.
"When you are a player and you keep losing and you keep dragging yourself along to training, which they've done admirably even in the depths of winter, then because you stick at it and you do that, you keep going.
"They've been banging their heads against a wall all season looking for a win and now that stops because they've got it. This first win means an awful lot to the boys and a lot to me."