Fate is sealed
- Sunday, 12 March 2017
The 1st XV's mathematical and highly unlikely chance of avoiding relegation has now gone after yesterday's 38-0 defeat at Brighton - their 22nd loss of the season and the sixth time they have failed to score in all competitions writes Brian Seeney.
In many ways it was a day that summed up their entire season - late withdrawals from the team picked on Thursday night and subsequent reshuffling of a starting list which in itself was a characterised by a number of injured and unavailable players.
Then in the game, the loss of fly half Kieran McRoberts and prop Dan Gamblin was yet another impediment as was the failure to turn pressure into points. Yet despite all this there was still the commitment and effort to the last that characterises this team.
It proved yet again that you can kick a man when he's down (and a team too) - and they are down - but there is relegation with pride and honour and this was it.
"Mathematically the inevitable has happened," Head Coach Barry Bridgman told me after the game.
"I suppose before today there was a glimmer of hope - no there wasn't!
"We've known now for a long time and it hasn't altered our thinking from match day to match day.
"We have still been trying to do the same things and get the players better and really we are preparing for next season already.
"The players have hopefully been on a learning curve - a very steep one - but hopefully that will stand us in good stead for next season.
"Because of the people we've not had available we've managed to blood some really good youngsters and one of them at least today showed how good a prospect he is. Young Joe Collard was mine and several other people's man of the match.
"I thought he was superb today and played well on the wing and then at full back where it is a lonely place to be when you have an opposition that are running at you hard and scoring tries.
The eyes have it - Joe Collard (left) who was 'man-of-the-match' at Brighton yesterday. Photo: Chris Roberts. More pictures in the Photo Gallery now.
"He was under a lot of high ball and I think he slipped up with one that was all. His tackling was good and he ran well when he had a chance.
"One of the saddest parts of the day was that we had quite a bit of pressure and we couldn't convert any of it into a score.
"We were on their line pounding their line for 12 minutes and then came a breakaway score and that was heart-breaking and pretty bad.
"Then it took them another 20 minutes or so to score the next one which was a really soft score and we didn't need that.
"We spurned chances to kick for goal because we really didn't have a kicker today so we had to do that and again we had lineout drives close to their line and we were thwarted. We tried to drive forwards over the line too much when we should have spun the ball wide.
"The second half was a repeat of the first half and we camped on their line but again would not spin the ball wide when we might not have scored, but we would have given ourselves a better chance of scoring.
"Brighton did defend well but our options were very limited and our focus was too narrow and we patently weren't going to score. We were our own worst enemy by not scoring and not taking our chances.
"I felt we could have had three or four scores at least and for execution of possible scoring chances we butchered them all and that is not going to win you games and is not going to even get you close.
"Our scrum was going backwards at a rate of knots some times and we were annihilated up front.
Brighton's first score was came on 13 minutes after constant Gos pressure then a converted try on 32 minutes took them 12-0 ahead into the break.
Five minutes into the second half a converted penalty try made it 19-0 and even after a 54th minute yellow card, they still kept Gos out whilst adding their fourth try. Two more converted tries followed in the 69th and 77th minutes.
"The one good thing from my point of view is that they boys gave everything and they were totally exhausted when they came off the field. It was a tough game," said Bridgman.
In the Hampshire Vets' Cup Final against Havant at Hooks Lane yesterday, Gos Vets lost to the home side 22-17.