Bridgman relishes Gosport & Fareham challenge

Barry Bridgman takes charge for the first time as Gosport & Fareham start their London one south campaign at Sevenoaks tomorrow (3pm).

Friday, 2nd September 2016, 7:00 am
Chris Thompson has retired. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (142889-2)

The experienced head coach, 61, took over from Neil McRoberts at the end of last season.

Bridgman has previously taken the helm at Southsea Nomads, Winchester, Trojans and led various groups at Hampshire level.

‘There are a lot of talented players at the club and I hope I can help get the best out of them,’ he said.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

‘It is a difficult start at Sevenoaks because they are one of the new sides coming into the league.

‘Having just bee promoted, they will want to prove themselves and want to start with a bang.

‘But pre-season has gone fairly well for us.

‘And I am confident we can give a good account of ourselves.

‘Whether it is good enough to win, we have to wait and see.

‘In the last few years Gosport have struggled away from home.

‘But that is something 
that we are looking to change.’

Bridgman admits the club have not had the luxury of recruiting heavily during the summer.

A number of players have also retired – including their influential number eight Chris Thompson.

His departure is a big blow but Bridgman is encouraged by a number of youngsters coming through from the colts set-up.

Meanwhile, the Gosport Park outfit have only lost one player to another club – prop forward Tom Blackburn to Havant.

Bridgman, like McRoberts before him, sees his side’s main strength being in their style of play.

‘Our strength lies in our mobility,’ added the head coach.

‘We don’t possess a pack of forwards who are going to shift any pianos.

‘Our aim is to look to play a fast open game.

‘We must try to get ourselves into a 
comfortable position by Christmas time.’

Gosport & Fareham will be helped in this manner by the continued presence of the Dugan brothers in their ranks.

Wes and Wayne showed their quality at the end of last season.

They played a major part in Hampshire winning the County Championship Shield at Twickenham.

Both could ply their trade at a higher level but are happy to stay with their home-town club.