Long awaited win away needed as Gos face a big eight days

Interim Head Coach Simon Pickett believes the 1st XV will start a season-defining eight day period tomorrow when they play their first away match of the campaign at Old Reigatian (3pm) knowing they must end their dreadful record on the road writes Brian Seeney.

Old Reigatian are second in the London 2 South West table and like leaders Camberley have 10 points from two wins.

Gos are third (nine points) and tomorrow week they take on fourth placed Twickenham (on seven points) at Gosport Park.

Gos haven't won on the road for two years and five months since they beat Hove back in April 2015.

"It is a monkey on our backs," confessed Pickett, "but I do feel we have the tools to get rid of that monkey now.

"It's about performing on the day and if we can get that first 80 minutes under our belts tomorrow then I think the rest will follow.

"Tomorrow is the key to that and I think it will determine where or whereabouts we will be (at the end of) this season.

"With no disrespect to anyone else but I've identified what I think will be the top four teams and including us, that's the top four at the moment.

"I think it all depends on what we do on the road and what we can string together in terms of performances and results."

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Despite losing seven players for tomorrow's trip - five unavailable and two injured - Pickett remains upbeat about his side's chances.

"It's disappointing not to have better availability on the first away game of the season but I'm still fairly content that we've got a side that can go up there and come away with a win.

"We've talked about starting well tomorrow and that's important.

"We haven't started particularly well in the first two games yet we've still managed to get the results in the end."

Into the starting side come Dom Holling, Alex Cooksley, Ethan Carpenter, Daz Willey, Grant Hill, Jimmy Wallis and Nathan Titchener after Gos won their opening two homes games by beating Winchester 15-12 and Eastleigh 32-27.

Old Reigatian, experienced campaigners at this level, opened with a 26-13 home win against London Exiles then won 16-33 at Effingham & Leatherhead last week.

Following two fine wins - 49-0 at home to Andover 2s and 7-41 at Trojans 2s last Saturday, the 2nd XV (Vikings) are top of the Hampshire Snows 1 Merit Table and face Eastleigh 2s at Gosport Park (3pm).

" The Vikings have had two big wins against teams that are not bad.

"Their game against Eastleigh tomorrow will be a tough test for them and once again I think it will determine where they are going to be at the end of the season.

"It's good that we have a squad of 40-50 players, the majority of whom can slide in and out of the first team. We have a good balance across the group and I'm expecting the 2s to be performing well this season.

"I think both sides are going to be in amongst it if we can keep the same mentality and have the availability of players."

Gos 1st XV:
15 Rory Penfold
14 David Cleary
13 Wayne Dugan
12 Dom Holling
11 Alex Cooksley
10 Sam Foster
9 Wes Dugan (Captain)
8 Sean Shepherd
7 Ethan Carpenter
6 Simon Trivett
5 Daz Willey
4 Grant Hill
3 Daniel O'Donoghue
2 Jimmy Wallis
1 Nathan Titchener
16 Rhys Bingham
17 Tom Batley
18 Will Baxendall.

Book now for Twickenham Match Day Lunch

Our next Match Day Lunch is on Saturday 30th September prior to the 1st XV's game against Twickenham and seats must be booked no later than 6pm on Thursday 28th September.

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 Jill 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.

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Festival time and Cup first

Festival rugby comes to Gosport Park next Sunday (24th September) in the Annual Under 12s Tournament and the taking place and the Under 13s playing their first ever Hampshire Cup match.

The Tournament games will start at 10am on four pitches with 16 teams competing in a Cup, Plate, Shield and Bowl competition after the Pool stages.

All of the main Hampshire clubs will be taking part along with Bognor and Worthing as visiting sides.

The Under 13s will take on Trojans at 11am.

Rick gives Accreditation where it's due

Hampshire RFU President Rick Scott was at the Match Day Lunch yesterday to present the RFU Accreditation Award recently achieved by Gosport & Fareham RFC.

Pictured are (from left) the team that worked on the project - Paul Cass, Joe Cloke, Rick, Chris Blockley-Webb, Steve Bennett, Alan Foulger, Arthur and Louise Rabjohn.

See the full story published in the News section on 12th September.

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Photo: Brian Seeney.

Bonus points all round

The 1st XV scored their first try bonus point win of the season beating Eastleigh 32-27 at Gosport Park yesterday to take third place in the London 2 South West table but let in two late tries to allow the visitors to take home two bonus points as well writes Brian Seeney.

In the end it came down to kickers - fly half Alex Duncombe landed two penalties and three conversions - one from the touchline - and Eastleigh's kicker let Gos off the hook failing with two early second half penalties in 10 minutes, one of which was a bad miss in the 46th minute.

The two sides exchanged penalties after nine and 12 minutes but once Gos took the lead in the 18th minute, they never lost it and never really looked like doing so.

In the 18th minute the Gos pack pushed Eastleigh off their own put-in and the advance towards the try line ended with no. 8 Ben Madigan having the simplest of tasks to score the try on his return after a season being unavailable.

Duncombe's fine kick from wide out was followed by his conversion of hooker Sean Shepherd's burst through the line for the second try after 27 minutes, which was reminiscent of his early days in the 1st XV.

At 17-3, Eastleigh took advantage of Sam Foster's trip to the sin bin with their first try on 36 minutes but the conversion was missed and the assured Duncombe made it 20-8 within two minutes.

Eastleigh narrowed the deficit to 20-15 with a converted try in the 40th minute and had a man in the sin bin when scrum half Wes Dugan got his second try in successive weeks, Duncombe kicking successfully once again for 27-15 at the break.

In a lacklustre second half, prop Dan Gamblin was binned on the hour but the best Gos try came on 71 minutes. They turned the ball over on their own 22 and it went through hands before centre Wayne Dugan, with plenty to do from outside the Eastleigh 22, powered over.

Then Gos got sloppy and 76th and 87th minute tries, the last converted, meant Eastleigh took home two bonus points.

"We are a bit disappointed but that (last try) was my fault because we had a penalty on the half way line and I should probably have just kicked it out and it would have finished the game," confessed skipper Wes Dugan.

"I decided to tap and go and run it in but they got the ball back and scored so I take the blame for that.

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A try for Wes Dugan yesterday for the second successive week. Photo: Chris Roberts. More pictures in the Photo Gallery later.

"That doesn't take anything away from the performance though, because we performed really well especially in our set pieces which were really good and gave us a platform.

"We struggled last week in the scrum against Winchester but we heard that Eastleigh had a good scrum so both training sessions for the forwards in the week were on the scrum machine.

"That helped us knowing they would come with a strong pack but we still managed to get the upper hand.

"They are a good club on the up and once they settle into this league and find the pace like we had to when we came up into this league a few years ago then they'll be fine because they are not a bad outfit.

"I think they are a local club like us where there are local lads who've grown up with each other and played together and that's good.

"It's always nice to score tries and we are trying to play a style of running rugby.

"We played well in the first half and we had a chat at half-time and we all thought we could play better because it was quiet a slow pace game up till then. We knew we could step it up but we didn't seem to be able to hold on to the ball. Our ball retention was pretty poor in the first 20 minutes of the second half and the game died off a bit and actually got slower.

"But we got four tries and that's what matters.

"I think the build up to the fourth try was good because Wayne had a lot to do and few players to beat.

"But credit where it's due he did really well to score it. His footwork is unreal and he will step you in a phone box. He's always been a great finisher and I think we will get a lot of tries out of him this season.

"For me it was a good performance all round."

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