Gosport warned to keep focus

Gosport's Ben Madigan getting tackled. Picture:Paul Jacobs  (114430-9)
Gosport's Ben Madigan getting tackled. Picture:Paul Jacobs (114430-9)
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Mark Wells warmed up for Gosport & Fareham’s title-clinching clash with Old Reigatians and vowed: We won’t count our chickens.

The head coach has masterminded his side’s rise to the summit of London two south west this term.

They are also into the final of the Hampshire Cup.

Just a bonus-point victory is separating them from the league title and automatic promotion to London one south.

But despite his men only losing twice all season, Wells will be taking nothing for granted in front of a bumper crowd at Gosport Park tomorrow.

‘We have the opportunity to do a league and cup double but must not count our chickens too soon,’ he said.

‘There is still a lot to do and Old Reigatians will be coming to us looking for an upset.

‘At their place they pushed us around for 50 minutes, so we know we are in for a tough game.

‘They are not fourth in our league for nothing.

‘We are at home and expected to do well in front of a large crowd, which will only make it harder for us.

‘It is about maintaining our standards, working hard and being precise in what we do to make sure we win.

‘We have got better and better as the season has progressed and have got ourselves into a good position.

‘At Teddington last weekend we produced an aggressive and dominant performance and that’s what we need to do again.’

The home side make two changes to their line-up tomorrow.

Lock-forward Matt Smith is unavailable, so Chris Thompson moves from the back row to the second row.

Meanwhile, Ben Madigan is recalled at number six. In the front row, the experience of veteran Dai Whitehead is preferred to Nathan Titchener, who made his first start of the season at Teddington.

Prop Simon Pickett is on the bench after resting with an ankle problem last week, and Jonathan Wood is recalled to the bench after unavailability.

Wells can take much of the credit for Gosport & Fareham’s success.

He took on an inconsistent team 18 months ago and welded them into a title-challenging outfit. His single-minded and often ruthless approach has paid dividends as the south coast outfit are on the verge of stepping up to the next level.

Wells is the first to admit it is not a one-man show, though.

And has paid tribute to fitness coach Joe Picken, fellow coach Scott Ashley and captain Tim Snowden.

‘Joe Picken has got them into the shape of their lives and Tim Snowden has been great with them out on the pitch,’ said Wells.

‘I came in last February and introduced some of the ideas I use in business to the team.

‘They were not the easiest bunch to manage but we set boundaries.

‘The bulk of the team is still very young and needed to be moulded into a team.

‘We have the stability of some older heads and we developed the youngsters’ physical presence to give them an edge.’

Gosport & Fareham: Thorne, Veiteve, Wayne Dugan, Foster, G Jones, Duncombe, Wes Dugan, Burton, Clark, Whitehead, Thompson, Pollard, Madigan, Snowden, Flower, Pickett, Wood, Jones