The 1st XV nearly made the perfect start to 2018 by losing just 26-30 to second-in-the-table Old Reigatian at Gosport Park yesterday having outscored the Surrey side by four tries to three writes Brian Seeney.

Gos were a try ahead within five minutes when a deft kick through the defensive line by fly half Alex Duncombe saw full back Alex Heron win the chase to touch down and that was just what the home side wanted so early on.

But the next 32 minutes were not so good as Old Reigatian scored 27 points without answer with three converted tries after 14, 20 and 37 minutes and two penalties in the 25th and 30th minutes.

At 5-27 it looked like the game was gone but ever-improving prop Carl Dawson powered over from a catch and drive lineout in the first minute of first half time added, with centre Wayne Dugan kicking the conversion for 12-27 because fly half Alex Duncombe had been sin binned by referee Katherine Ritchie (Herts) for not rolling away.

It was a critically important seven pointer and suddenly the game didn't look beyond Gos anymore.

Six minutes into the second half, Gos had narrowed the visitors' lead to 19-27 when Grant Hill popped a pass to returning no. 8 Sean Shepherd who charged through for his first of two tries.

The 62nd minute penalty that put Old Reigatian 19-30 in front was to prove decisive in the end even though it was only six minutes later that Shepherd scored again from a catch and drive lineout for the fourth try and bonus point. Wayne Dugan landed his third conversion of the day.

"We started well and I thought that first try was well deserved because we played well for that," said Head Coach Barry Bridgman.

"Then they started to get the ascendancy and you could feel the momentum shifting and by half time we were looking a little bit adrift and I thought we might rescue it but knew it was big ask to do that.

"At half time we were talking about the fact that our forwards had gone to sleep for 20 minutes and we had let them get momentum with their driving maul and we weren't being tough enough.

"Our score just before half time was absolutely critical and if we could keep that going in the second half we knew we could be there or thereabouts at the end but we had to make sure everything was tight.

"Again we drifted in and out of the second half but we played pretty well for most of it and we managed to keep them out. But it's a shame because I think we could have won the game. We had two certain chances to score two more tries in the second half.

"If you can't win it then two points is the next best thing. We got messages on towards the end to say 'don't let them score because we must get the two bonus points' and we did.

OR DawsonTry WEB

Carl Dawson scoring the third Gos try yesterday. Photo: Chris Roberts.

"I think we played pretty well overall and took two points taken from the second in the table side who are not second for nothing.

"I think they realised they got out of jail against us and their coach said as much.

I'm happy-ish. It's a strange feeling tinged with a bit of disappointment because six weeks ago prior to winning three in a row, if somebody had said we'd take two points off Old Reigatian at home and be within four points of them at the finish then I'd have said 'OK thanks very much but I don't really believe you'.

"It's not as if they just got to second last week or something - they've been second for all of the season except when they went first so that's consistency and not just a team who've just got there.

"We did say we were going to get things back on the road and those three wins brought that little bit of self-belief for the first 20 minutes today.

"Then we seemed to lose our direction especially up front and lost our way.

"We got back into it in the second half and I think they were looking worried at the end because we were steaming.

"With a couple more minutes I think we could have scored again. We had good chances available to us but we didn't take two of them in the second half and probably left four scores out there today.

"That's good and bad. It's disappointing we didn't take at least one of those four chances which would have won us the game but on the other hand it's great that we can manufacture things like that.

"It gives us good heart to go to Twickenham next Saturday and then take on KCS Old Boys down here two weeks later. It means we can seriously look at winning both games if we've got the right personnel available on the day."

Gos stay seventh in the London 2 South West table and next up will face a Twickenham side who still remain third despite crashing to a shock 20-7 defeat at relegation threatened Effingham & Leatherhead yesterday.

It trimmed the gap that separates Gos from the relegation zone from 14 points to 12 as sixth placed Farnham lost just 34-33 at Old Tonbridgians to stay sixth with a two point lead over Gos.

That Farnham performance underlined how important yesterday's two losing bonus points are for Gos...

An easyWeb site produced by Media 3