The 1st XV were on the receiving end of a Twickenham backlash yesterday when the Londoners powered to a 40-10 win having lost the previous week to lowly Effingham & Leatherhead writes Brian Seeney.

The defeat caused Gos to slip one place to eighth in the London 2 South West table as none of the four sides below them won either, but did pick up bonus points.

The team's plans were upset before they even left Gosport Park with fly half Alex Cooksley withdrawing with flu-like symptoms so a short notice summons to Max Page saw him come on to the bench.

It meant Gos had no backs replacement, a problem that hit them after just a couple of minutes when full back Will Baxandall left with a deeply cut lip to play no further part.

Ruthless Twickenham quickly exploited gaps in the makeshift back line and they were 7-0 ahead in the eighth minute.

Worse was to come when missed tackles let them in twice in five minutes for 19-0 after 25 minutes and even when down to 14 men after a 29th minute yellow card, within eight minutes they had another converted try for 26-0 at the break.

That quickly rose to 40-0 after converted tries in the 46th and 51st minutes.

But then Gos rallied and although the Londoners defended well right to the end, Gos scored twice through skipper Wes Dugan from a five metre scrum after 62 minutes then Sean Shepherd crashed over four minutes later.

Immediately after a second yellow card for the home side on 77 minutes, Dugan seemed more likely to have got the ball down than not for his second try but it was disallowed.

Twick ShepherdTry WEB

Sean Shepherd gets the second Gos try yesterday. Photo Chris Roberts. More pictures in the Photo Gallery shortly.

"As a game I thought it was gone at half time for us. The players turned it around in the second half but Twickenham were very good," admitted Head Coach Barry Bridgman.

"I think we copped the backlash after they lost at Effingham. That wasn't the team that were beaten at Effingham.

"It's very disappointing to come away and get beaten by 30 points when we have done so well in the past few weeks.

"We lost last week against Old Reigatian but they weren't anywhere near the level that Twickenham were today. Twickenham deserved it and are far, far better than Old Reigatian.

"In the first half our tackling was absolutely appalling when we let through three tries they shouldn't have scored and should never have been tries. They ran through three, four or five players at a time and that is unacceptable.

"Our players know that and they've talked about how we were in that first half. They know we played extremely poorly and I didn't have to tell them that.

"We allowed the opposition to dominate us in the first half. Twickenham's defence was good and well organised and we were facing all 15 all the time because they got up and on their feet very quickly."

On a brighter note, Tom Lewis got through his first 80 minutes for two years, Max Page through his first game this season while Dan Gamblin and Tom Batley finished after both missing the last six games through injury.

"I'm very pleased for Tom (Lewis) and to see all the others back," said Bridgman.

"But for me Ben Roberts was man of the match today out of both teams. He played well in the first half and exceptionally well in the second half."

Gos now have break next weekend and some hard work to do in training as they target a home win against KCS Old Boys (on 27th January).

Bridgman describes fourth in the table KCS as "beatable" but Gos will need to seriously improve on the performance they produced yesterday and learn lessons from their six-try mauling if that is going to happen.

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