The 1st XV overcame the worst weather and pitch conditions seen at Gosport Park for a long time when they beat fourth-in-the-table KCS Old Boys 24-17 yesterday and climbed one place to seventh after four of the sides below them all won writes Brian Seeney.

Head Coach Barry Bridgman had told his team to "front up" after their surrender at Twickenham a fortnight before and stressed the need to start both halves well. They did.

Only six minutes in, wing Shaun Taylor scored their first try and fly half Alex Duncombe converted from the touchline. Duncombe didn't miss a kick all afternoon, improving wing Tom Lewis' try on 53 minutes and again on 65 minutes. His 72nd minute penalty put it out of reach for KCS, whose penalty four minutes later ensured a losing bonus point.

Both KCS tries were controversial - the first for 7-7 on 38 minutes hotly debated afterwards as the lineout lead to their levelling score.

Had KCS formed a line? Was the throw straight? Did it go five metres? They had two players stood at scum half. It mattered not!

Their second try left the Gos players protesting as first a knock on wasn't given and then Lewis seemed to get to the ball first. Thankfully that didn't matter either although at 14-14 it might have done.

Duncombe had one of those afternoons that defied the heavy pitch, fairly strong wind and the swirling rain that Gos faced in the first half after KCS chose to play against the elements. So 7-7 at half time was never going to be enough for the visitors against the conditions.

He was the architect of the second Lewis try after 65 minutes, kicking into the dead ball area which looked overcooked until Lewis decided there was no such thing as a lost cause.

The conversion, again from out on the touchline, took it to 21-14. Then Duncombe completed his excellent afternoon's work for 24-14.

KCS clinched a losing bonus point on 77 minutes which they deserved for playing and trying, like Gos, to make a game of it in the awful conditions that were enjoyed by the few hardy souls on the touchlines with the sizeable crowd of lunch guests not surprisingly in the sanctuary of the clubhouse but enjoying the win equally as much .


No wonder he's smiling - Tom Lewis' second try yesterday in only the second game he has completed in over two years. Photo: Chris Roberts. More pictures in the Photo Gallery shortly.

"It was a well earned four points," said Bridgman.

"We spoke beforehand about starting well and starting well in the second half and we did that.

"It was an awful day for both sides to be fair. It was extremely difficult to hold on to the ball.

"The overall performance was good but it was hard work.

"Our scrum and the lineout went pretty well and we played the game right in the first half with quite a bit of good kicking and we did that well.

"The try that Tom Lewis scored won us the game and it was great because he didn't give up on what looked like a lost cause. Because the in-goal areas are so big he did really well to score that.

"In those conditions these are very easy games to lose and the players should take nothing away from what they've just done beating the fourth team in the league on what wasn't an easy afternoon by any stretch of the imagination.

"KCS have been steady in fourth and they are not a bad side.

"But that was a really good, solid performance. I'm happy with four points because it's a good result.

"Home advantage is a big thing for all the teams in the league. We should be beating teams here and we did."

There was a yellow card for each side and Gos centre Wayne Dugan can count himself more than fortunate that his was only yellow after a fracas on the hour.

The importance of the win for Gos, who remain 11 points clear of the drop zone, was underlined when the shock results from elsewhere came in.

Bottom side Eastleigh beat third placed Twickenham 22-10, the other relegation favourites Effingham & Leatherhead, beat Farnham, who are next up for Gos, 13-12 and Andover were 25-30 winners against London Exiles.

Second placed Old Reigatian lost 22-15 at Winchester, leaving Camberley even further ahead as promotion certainties, after a 19-35 win against Old Tonbridgians took them 12 points clear.

An easyWeb site produced by Media 3