Ashley calls on troops to rally for key dates ahead

17/12/11  sport''Gosport V Bognor (in green) rugby action at Gosport Park. Pictured is Gosport's Wes Dugan with the ball ''Picture:Paul Jacobs  (114430-14)
17/12/11 sport''Gosport V Bognor (in green) rugby action at Gosport Park. Pictured is Gosport's Wes Dugan with the ball ''Picture:Paul Jacobs (114430-14)
England's Vickil Cornborough is tackled by Scotland's Karen Dunbar during the Women's Six Nations match at Broadwood Stadium, Cumbernauld. PPP-171108-170224001

Cornborough helps England notch first victory

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Gosport & Fareham coach Scott Ashley remains defiant his side can escape relegation from London one south.

His belief has not been shaken by the 57-14 drubbing at home to Basingstoke.

Ashley watched his men concede three converted tries in the first eight minutes.

The home side then improved to score two tries of their own but they were well beaten.

Pressure is growing for the team to win their crunch battles between now and the end of the season.

‘I still think we are good enough to stay up in this league,’ said Ashley.

‘But to do that, we need to play with more confidence.

‘There are certain games we need to target for points.

‘I believe there are six or seven between now and the end of the season when we can do just that.’

Basingstoke made their storming start and capitalised on it to lead 36-0 at the break.

It’s a situation Gosport are keen to address.

Ashley said: ‘Our first 15 minutes was dire and again we have been guilty of giving away silly points.

‘We have become a slow-burning team and we can’t afford that.

‘Over the past two games we have left ourselves chasing a difficult situation of our own making.

‘We have lacked controlled aggression at the breakdown and suffered from poor defence.

‘It wasn’t until towards the end of the first half we started to play with any belief and confidence.’

Gosport rallied briefly at the start of the second period, when the visitors suffered two quick-fire yellow cards.

Second-row forward Mark Pollard, playing his final game before going to sea with the Royal Navy, grabbed a try four minutes into the second half.

This was quickly followed by another from scrum-half Wes Dugan.

Alex Duncombe added both conversions, giving the home side hope of getting something from the game.

Basingstoke rallied, though, to score three more converted tries.

Ashley added: ‘I thought we could grab a four-try bonus point but it didn’t happen.’