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Pride comes before the fall

Two of the three sides who will be relegated from London 1 South face each other at Gosport Park tomorrow (3pm) when Dover Sharks are the visitors in a game that's "all about pride" writes Brian Seeney.

Neither bottom side Gos (with five points) or Dover (11 points) can overhaul Brighton who inflicted a 38-0 defeat on Barry Bridgman's boys a fortnight ago to end any slim hopes they might have had of avoiding relegation.

Dover's slight chance of beating the drop also evaporated that day when they lost at home 15-69 to Gravesend which meant they are 21 points adrift with only 20 left to play for. Chiswick are only five points behind Brighton so that looks like going down to the wire for the third relegation spot.

"It is all about pride tomorrow and getting a win close to the end of the season to prepare us a little bit for next season," said Bridgman.

"It's the same for both sides but one thing we do know is that Dover are not going to just turn up and roll over. That's not going to happen.

"It is just another game because I don't target games - every game is a target. But it is a chance for us to get a win at home for the second time this season.

"To do that we have to shape up and get our processes better and when we get chances we must execute them.

DoverWEB

"We didn't take our chances against Brighton and we will have to do that against Dover to win. They will come here, relegated like us, but we are the side that's bottom and they will think they have a chance of turning us over."

After the 12 hour x 292 mile round trip that Gos took to Dover back in late November, they came home 46-18 losers after a bright start when they scored three first half tries but capitulated in the second half.

Gos will be missing prop Dan Gamblin tomorrow after he sustained a slipped disc at Brighton so Nathan Titchener starts.

They welcome back Wayne Dugan in the centre, with an all new bench of Rhys Bingham, Anthony Reynolds and Tom Lewis.

It's Captains' Day tomorrow and over 90 people - many former Gos team captains - will sit down to lunch at 1pm sharp (bar open from 12 noon).

The 2nd XV are at Winchester 2s in a league 5th-8th Play-Off (2pm).

Gos 1st XV:
15 Rory Penfold
14 Kieran Darrington
13 Wayne Dugan
12 Joe Traynor
11 Joe Collard
10 Kieran McRoberts
9 Wes Dugan (Captain)
8 Ben Roberts
7 Will Larkin
6 Tim Snowden
5 Simon Trivett
4 Max Page
3 Daniel O’Donoghue
2 Jimmy Wallis
1 Nathan Titchener
Replacements:
16 Rhys Bingham
17 Anthony Reynolds
18 Tom Lewis

Book now for Tunbridge Wells Match Day Lunch

Bookings are now being taken for our Match Day Lunch on 1st April prior to the 1st XV's game against Tunbridge Wells and seats must be booked no later than 6pm on Thursday 30th March.

The Bar is open from 12 noon and sit down is at 1pm because the match kicks off at 3pm.

Lunches are for everyone in the club - officials, members and non-members and their guests, including visiting supporters.

Members pay £20 and all non-members £22.50.

All cheques must be made payable to 'The Hugin (G&F RFC) Supporters Club Ltd.'

To book contact new Lunch Organiser Jill Salvat on 07952 966006 (mobile) or by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If you wish to choose a vegetarian option or have any special dietary requirements then you must advise Rob at the time you book as we may not be able to meet your needs if we only find out on the day of the event.

When booking by phone, leaving a voicemail message or booking by email or text, please give your full name (not nickname), your telephone number, your email address and state how many places you want to reserve at the event.

If you find you have booked more places than you eventually need, we are happy to amend your booking if you tell us before the booking deadline. But if you fail to inform us of any unwanted seats then you will be charged for all the seats you've booked.

There will be one more Match Day Lunch this season - the End of Season Lunch will be on 22 April before the game against Sevenoaks.

Lg Lunch

Bridgman and Dugan commit to roles next season

Head Coach Barry Bridgman has accepted an invitation to stay in post next season and Wes Dugan will continue as Captain of the 1st XV writes Brian Seeney.

The Club's Executive committee have moved early to secure Bridgman's services for another campaign and an agreement from Dugan to take on the role for a further season.

The move was made partly to put an end to gossip that both might have "had enough" and that Dugan will be amongst an exodus of the most senior players after the 1st XV succumbed to relegation to London 2 South West division (level seven) 11 days ago.

It is hoped the appointments will prompt other senior players to commit to next season - among them Wayne Dugan, Tim Snowden, Dan Gamblin, Kieran McRoberts, Rory Penfold and Alex Cooksley. Ben Roberts has already said he will play for Gos next season.

"I've been asked (to stay on) and the answer is yes," Bridgman told me.

"There are a lot of lads here with a lot of promise. Playing in a division lower next season will give us a chance to win a few games and give the lads a bit of confidence in themselves.

"I think the prospects for the club with the young players we have are good and maybe three years down the line the club could be looking at getting back up (to London 1 South).

"There is a lot of hard work that we need to put in for next season but I don't mind that. I didn't have to think about staying really because I've enjoyed the year even though it has been tough.

"They are a good bunch of lads and they are worth coaching. They have tried hard.

"If we had a bunch of players who were losing games every week and none of them were bothered and couldn't be bothered to come training then it would have been a different prospect. That probably would have been something to do with me as well and I would have said to myself it's not worth carrying on.

"However the numbers at training have been brilliant, they work hard and they don't give up and there is a certain bond and camaraderie there that is seeing them through bad times.

"When you are a player losing so many games it must be hard - it is hard to get up for the next one.

"It is hard for a coach as well and you ask yourself lots of questions and get very introspective if you are not careful."

Dugan (30 next month) is the most experienced player in the 1st XV having broken into the side as a 17-year-old.

"I took over this season (as Captain) because I knew what sort of year it was going to be with a lot of new young players, a lot of older players leaving and it was about keeping morale high and keep developing the new players.

"I knew we would probably be relegated because of the way we struggled last year.

"The young players are learning all the time even when we are losing all the time.

"When I came into the first team as a youngster we started losing and we dropped three leagues and that's why I'm staying as Captain next season because I don't want that to happen again.

"My goal is to keep this team playing at a good standard of rugby in London 2 (SW) and after that it is down to the players, their growth and development.

"If we can come back up in maybe two or three years time that would be brilliant but what I really want is for us to establish ourselves as a London 2 team rather than dropping and sliding down leagues. That's not what I want for the players or the supporters.

BarryWes WEB

Above: committed Barry (left) and Wes. 

"It wasn't a life goal for me (to become Captain) or something I really wanted to do although I have done it in the past.

"I take pride in doing it but that's not for me personally, it's for the players and their pride.

"I would have been disappointed if I hadn't been asked to do it for a second season."

The lack of an assistant coach for much of the season is a concern for Bridgman after James Clayson's departure early in the current campaign.

"It can be a lonely business which has been exacerbated because I have had no assistant although people have rocked up and done a session here and a session there but it hasn't been consistent," said Bridgman.

"I do want to see us recruit an Assistant Head Coach next season and maybe one or two others from the club who will put their hand up and say they are going to help - or not.

"The future is a Coach possibly from within the club - there are good people here but they need to give the commitment.

"There are people who are talking a good game but not committing and they need to either commit or say 'no thanks' and then we go looking elsewhere.

"I am particularly looking for a backs' coach and I'm looking for that from within the club at the moment but if we don't find someone we will look outside."

Club Chairman Alan Foulger and his fellow Executive Committee members are delighted that both Bridgman and Dugan are already in place for next season.

"Following a very difficult season on the field, the initial planning has already commenced for next season to support the senior teams and build for the future," he said.

"With much appreciation for the effort, commitment and enthusiasm of the players, coaches and support staff we have looked at providing continuity, and we are pleased Barry and Wes are staying on.

"Barry took on a very difficult task last summer which was made more difficult when the Assistant Head Coach stepped down early in the season.

"Barry has years of coaching experience in Hampshire with the County and club sides playing in London 1 South and London SW 2.

"For that reason, we believe he has the right credentials to help the club stabilise in the lower league and start the rebuilding process.

"Wes has shown great loyalty to the Club, following his success as Captain of the Hampshire County side at Twickenham.

"He has led the players from the front this season and will be instrumental in doing so again, encouraging our young side to greater things as we start to rebuild."

The process continues tonight with a Players' Meeting at the Club (7pm) when players past, present and future are invited to attend.

Among the agenda items will be the fact that the Club has sometimes struggled to raise even a 1st XV side some weeks this season and numerous 2nd and 3rd team games have been cancelled due to lack of players willing to commit to turning out.

Thanks lads

Dave Bamford (left) and David Cleary (right) are  the joint sponsors of the Match Ball for this Saturday's 1st XV game against Dover (3pm kick off).

They are pictured with 1st XV forward Ben Roberts who presented then with a signed match day ball.

Match Ball sponsors have their photo taken with a 1st XV player which is published on this website and on the club's Facebook page to acknowledge their support.

Sponsors also receive a match ball signed by the 1st XV.

The cost of sponsorship is a minimum £50 although sponsors can give a bigger sum if they wish!

You can sponsor as a business, an individual or share the cost as a group of friends.

If you would like to support this scheme please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your name and contact details and confirm the amount you are willing to pay for any of our home fixtures this season and also next season.

BigDave BenR Cleary2

Words & photo: Brian Seeney

Academy honour for Harvey

Gosport & Fareham youngster Harvey Field, who started playing rugby in our Mini/Youth Under 7s, was in the London Irish Under 15 Rugby Academy team when they beat Worcester last month writes Brian Seeney.

He was part of a squad of 28 players selected from across Hampshire and Berkshire.

Harvey (pictured)  is already a member of the London Irish Bronze Academy.

"He attended the game in full school uniform as instructed by London Irish. It was great to see a local Cams Hills blazer amongst all the private school blazers that were there," said Harvey's proud father Shane.

Harvey Field WEB

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