Gosport out for revenge

Ben Madigan, with ball  Picture: Roger Smith

Ben Madigan, with ball Picture: Roger Smith

Darren Bamford's hat-trick wasn't enough for Havant against Sidcup. Picture: Kieth Woodland

Havant coach positive despite play-off misery

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Head coach Neil McRoberts believes Gosport & Fareham are in the mood to deal with Twickenham in their London one south contest at Gosport Park (2pm).

The Blue & Golds are keen to build on their impressive 32-26 win over Basingstoke last time out and continue their climb up the league standings.

McRoberts believes tomorrow’s home game is a big opportunity his side don’t want to miss out on.

‘Our two worst performances earlier in the season were at Basingstoke and Twickenham,’ said McRoberts.

‘We put the Basingstoke one right and now it’s time to do the same with Twickenham.

‘The bonus-point win over our Hampshire rivals has set us up nicely for the next two games, which are huge for us.

‘There are 10 points on offer against Twickenham and at Dover next week, and another two wins will make a big difference.

‘The key to our success last week against Basingstoke was making a superb start and we blew them away in the opening half hour.

‘They couldn’t cope with our strong pack and powerful running.

‘We must look to do the same against Twickenham and put them under pressure from the start.’

The game has been re-arranged after the original meeting was postponed a fortnight ago, when Twickenham arrived late due to traffic problems.

By the time the visitors arrived it was too dark to play the game on the main pitch.

Gosport offered to play the game on an adjoining pitch under training lights, and although the referee was in agreement, Twickenham declined the offer.

McRoberts said: ‘We were all frustrated at the time but I think we took it out on Basingstoke last week.’

‘I don’t think any of that matters now because the players are focused whoever our opponents are.’

The home side make a couple of minor adjustments to their team, which McRoberts believes will only strengthen them.

Captain Tim Snowden moves up to hooker, which means Ben Madigan can start in the back-row after his impressive appearance as a replacement against Basingstoke.

Madigan made a remarkable re-appearance after spending a year out due to family commitments.

‘I couldn’t believe his fitness levels after being out for so long,’ added McRoberts.

The dynamic presence of Madigan, alongside talisman Chris ‘Sumo’ Thompson, will provide an impressive back-row for the hosts.

Thirty-five-year-old Thompson has a lot of experience and has played at National League level.

He not only makes a lot of yards with the ball but is someone his fellow players can turn to when things are not going so well.

In the replacements, forward Craig Chance makes his first appearance since joining from United Services Portsmouth.

‘We are starting to see more consistency in our squad and that is making a big difference,’ said McRoberts.

Gosport & Fareham: Heron, Holling, McRoberts, Dugan Wayne, Penfold, Duncombe, Dugan Wes, Gilmartin, Snowden, Blackburn, Pollard, Roberts, Pascoe, Madigan, Thompso. Replacements: Jones, Chance, Wilde

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