Duncombe holds nerve to fire Gosport & Fareham to victory

Gosport & Fareham charged to victory against Charlton Park. Picture: Paul Jacobs
Gosport & Fareham charged to victory against Charlton Park. Picture: Paul Jacobs
Dave Wheaton and the Fareham Heathens. Picture: Neil Marshall (171152-317)

Double trouble for heroic Heathens

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Alex Duncombe kept his cool to earn Gosport & Fareham a 25-22 London one south win over Charlton Park with a last-gasp penalty.

Duncombe defied the notorious wind at Gosport Park to send the ball through the posts with the final kick of the game.

Alex is a cool customer and has done this for us before

Neil McRoberts

It capped a remarkable second-half fightback from the hosts who had trailed 22-5 at half-time.

Coach Neil McRoberts praised the composure of his goal kicker.

‘Alex is a cool customer and has done this for us before,’ said McRoberts.

‘The referee had told us it was the last kick of the game but he didn’t allow that to fluster him.

‘The kick was on their 22-metre line and to one side of the posts and in normal circumstances would be regarded as not too difficult.

‘But under the circumstances it was a pressure kick in very difficult conditions.

‘Alex, however, judged it perfectly, allowing for the wind to drift the ball back between the posts.’

After starting well Gosport went off the boil, allowing Charlton Park to establish ascendancy in the opening 40 minutes.

The visitors opened up a 12-point lead with two tries, one of which was converted, by the 30-minute mark.

The home side hit back when full-back Jack Brawn powered his way through four defenders to open his sides account with a try.

By the break, though, Charlton Park pulled further away with a penalty and a third try.

‘We didn’t play well in the first half and a few words were said at half-time,’ said McRoberts.

‘The players were asked how much they wanted to win the game.

‘As a result we went out for the second half and took charge playing most of the game in the opposition territory.

‘Charlton Park defended aggressively and what impressed me most was the way we didn’t panic.

‘Even though the clock was ticking down we maintained our focus and structure to keep the pressure on.’

Duncombe kicked a penalty a minute into the second half and Wes Dugan quickly added a trademark try.

The scrum half smashed his way over from close range.

With three minutes of normal time remaining, Gosport’s incessant pressure paid off with a penalty try which Duncombe converted to level it up.

It was six minutes into stoppage time when Duncombe nailed his final kick to win the game.

‘This is a massive result for us,’ said McRoberts.

‘We deserved the win even though we couldn’t have left it any later.’

‘It means we have opened up a nine point gap between us and the bottom three.

‘For us to come from behind in the manner we did gives us something to move forward with.’