Scott Ashley loves it when a plan comes together.
The Gosport & Fareham head coach watched as his troops recorded an emphatic 38-13 triumph over Portsmouth in London two south west at Rugby Camp.
The derby success avenged last season’s Hampshire Cup final defeat.
And, according to Ashley, owed much to their work on the training ground.
‘Our fitness coach Topsy Turner has done a marvellous job and it showed as we went straight from the word go,’ said the Gosport Park chief.
‘This is my third year at the club and that is the best display I have seen.
‘Our set-piece worked and we were good in attack and defence.
‘It is very early days but it looks as if we are on the road to recovery after being relegated last season.
‘The players are delighted they have been able to put the ghosts of last season’s cup final well and truly to rest.’
Portsmouth found themselves in difficulty right from the start as hooker Greg Houlihan was yellow-carded.
Forced to reorganise, the Rugby Camp outfit then conceded a penalty try.
Even when the visitors were reduced to 13 – with two first-half yellow cards for Tim Snowdon and Sam Foster – Portsmouth could not cross the try-line.
Gosport then made their superiority count with tries from Christian Jones and Wes Dugan.
The visitors’ ability to turn defence into attack then brought Wayne Dugan two scores in the second half before Portsmouth grabbed a late consolation try after Chris Thompson was sin-binned.
For new Portsmouth coaches Sid Street and Mike Hoban, it is proving a baptism of fire after taking over from Ian Chandler in the summer.
Their cause has not been helped by the loss of a few key players, including captain Luke Richardson for the rest of the season due to injury.
‘We are a young side in the process of rebuilding,’ said Hoban.
‘We had enough possession to be more competitive but again we struggled with the accuracy of our finishing.
‘The early yellow card damaged us and we never really recovered.
‘It put Gosport on the front foot and they were playing with confidence after that.
‘The final scoreline was flattering to them but there are lessons we have to learn.
‘The players are very disappointed because we don’t like losing to our local rivals.’
Elsewhere, Havant remain winless in London one south after a 38-26 defeat at unbeaten Chobham.
Luke Marks, Josh Blackburn and Justin Powell all scored tries for the Hooks Lane side, with skipper Joel Knight topping up their tally with his boot.
United Services were edged out 14-13 at Bognor in Hampshire one.
Trailing 14-3 at the break, the Sailors hit back with a Will Blackett try and a Kit Waapschot penalty and conversion but failed to take their chances at the death.
‘We played as individuals and if it had been more of a team performance we would have won,’ said director of rugby Simon Burns.
Locks Heath Pumas are the early Hampshire two pace-setters after a 37-0 win over Stoneham.
The home side dominated with Julian Beard and Paul Rourke both grabbing doubles.
The pacy Darno Sambrook also scored, while Nick Destafano kicked the rest of the points.
Fareham Heathens came out on top 25-10 in their derby at Southsea Nomads.
And Petersfield crushed Alresford 78-5.