Greater self belief is key to Gosport glory

Gosport & Fareham are the champions
Gosport & Fareham are the champions
Luke Barfoot will make his 100th league appearance. Picture: Neil Marshall

Havant hope normal service will resume at home

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President Paul Cass paid tribute to head coach Mark Wells after Gosport & Fareham wrapped up London two south west glory.

A 36-17 win over Old Reigatians at Gosport Park proved enough to give the home side the silverware.

Wells took on an inconsistent Gosport side 18-months ago and has quickly moulded them into champions.

‘Our young side have come on in leaps and bounds and that is in no small way down to Mark Wells,’ said Cass.

‘Last year I don’t think they realised how good they could be and Mark instilled greater self-belief into them.

‘They already possessed a latent talent but Mark got them heading in the right direction.

‘He is very much his own man and very demanding but his tremendous enthusiasm rubs off on everyone.

‘Mark has very much come back to his roots, starting off as a player in our youth section and going on to play at a higher level with Havant.

‘I think he has mellowed a little and shown the ability to motivate players in different ways.

‘He knows those who need a kick up the backside and those who might respond to an arm around the shoulder.’

It was to prove a nervy occasion in front of a packed house of over 500 spectators at Gosport Park, with a sell-out lunch for 145 people preceding the main affair.

Alex Duncombe knocked over an early penalty but the Surrey side scored a seventh-minute try.

The two sides traded further tries, Gosport lock-forward Mark Pollard going over with Duncombe adding the conversion.

The home side always possessed the greater cutting edge, though, and further converted tries from wingers Vetaia Veiteve and Gareth Jones saw them lead 22-10 at the break.

Apprehension continued to hold Well’s side back at the start of the second half as they conceded another converted try.

The crucial fourth bonus-point try arrived in the 66th minute as Veiteve grabbed his second of the game.

Gosport relaxed and finished with a last-minute Wes Dugan try, converted by Duncombe.

Coach Wells said: ‘Old Reigatians came to spoil our party and gave us a hard game.

‘We were a bit nervy and that led to mistakes.

‘I felt we always had the edge over them in the scrummages and line-outs and once we relaxed we were all over them.

‘It was a fantastic day for the club and we will now have the opportunity to play in the highest level this club has reached.

‘If we can keep this team together they are capable of pushing on.

‘It is still very much a work in progress, though, with a young side that can develop even further.’