Gosport & Fareham have got to defeat Cobham at Gosport Park tomorrow if they are to maintain their faint hopes of London one south survival.
That’s the verdict of the club’s director of rugby Mark Wells.
The home side occupy the final relegation berth – 11 points adrift of nearest rivals Beckenham.
Another defeat will see the odds stacked further against them.
Wells believes Cobham, Havant and Beckenham are all within reach but knows his team have to win tomorrow.
‘This is a must-win game – it’s as simple as that ,’ he said.
‘If we win, we drag ourselves a little closer to the teams above us.
‘However, if we lose then it is almost all over.
‘We cannot afford for the gap to get any bigger.
‘It is not as if we are trying to nick points from one of the top sides.
‘This is a game against a team we are capable of – and should be – beating.
‘If we don’t then we should be asking ourselves whether we should be playing at this level.’
Gosport & Fareham’s return to London one south has been beset with problems from before the start of the season.
Injuries and unavailability put the brakes on their pre-season preparations – and ever since the team has been plagued by the same problems.
The absence of key players has crippled the team at times.
This was no more apparent than last weekend – when they faced going to Beckenham with up to five senior players missing.
Fortunately, the snow meant the game was postponed.
And Gosport are set to welcome back some of those missing men for tomorrow’s big game.
Wells believes his experienced players hold the key to survival.
Outside-half Sam Foster, Wes Dugan at scrum-half and Wayne Dugan in the centre all reappear after absence.
‘We have three experienced operators back in our midfield,’ said Wells.
‘Sam plays an almost error-free game.
‘He makes very few mistakes and brings other players around him into the game.
‘People like Wayne Dugan perform better when he’s around.
‘All three players are easily capable of playing rugby at this level and will give us a cutting edge as well as greater resilience.’
Elsewhere, Fareham Heathens are hoping powerful Army centre Sammy Raloki will be back for their Hampshire two showdown with Ventnor at Cams Alders.
The Fijian has been out for eight weeks through injury but the hosts are optimistic he is ready to return.
‘Having Sammy back will make a big difference because he is so strong and opponents struggle to contain him,’ said Heathens spokesman Chris Lee.
‘Up at Overton earlier in the season he won us the second half.
‘We are looking to bounce back after losing our traditional arm wrestle against the Locks Heath Pumas.
‘Ventnor are third in the league table but they don’t always travel well.’