Gosport & Fareham hoping for capital gains… changes needed at Fareham Heathens

Gosport & Fareham's London two south west status is on the line when they travel to relegation-rivals London Exiles on Saturday.

By Kevin Ricketts
Thursday, 7th March 2019, 2:40 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th March 2019, 3:45 pm
Harrison Fokinther, centre, will move from loose-head prop to blindside flanker for Fareham Heathens. Picture: Duncan Shepherd
Harrison Fokinther, centre, will move from loose-head prop to blindside flanker for Fareham Heathens. Picture: Duncan Shepherd

The hugely-disappointing home defeat at the hands of Old Alleynians saw the Blue & Golds slip into the division’s bottom two.

London Exiles leapfrogged above them in the table with a comprehensive win at bottom club Effingham & Leatherhead.

Senior coach George Hillan is aware that his side have struggled to win any games away from home in recent seasons.

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Fareham Heathens travel to third-placed Bognor in the Hampshire Premiership.

Player-coach Dave Wheaton finds himself forced to field a much-changed line-up.

'We are plagued with availability concerns for this weekend,' said Wheaton.

'Our game against Basingstoke has taken its toll, with several key players out through injury.

'This, coupled with work commitments, means it will be a very different side to the one who narrowly lost that game.

'However, this is the ideal opportunity for our fringe players to step up and make that difference in the game.

‘It is going to be a baptism of fire for some players, but often hard encounters bring out the best performance.

'If we can maintain the mindset we showed against Basingstoke then I’m sure we can come away with something from the game.'

Jack Orley returns from long term injury to start at hooker.

There is a new-look back row, with John Cole moving in from the wing, Jon Corner at number eight and Harrison Fokinther moving from loose-head prop to blindside flanker.

In the three-quarters, Kris Owens switches to full-back, with Doug Barrow and Steve Devoy in the centre and Tom King and Thomas Howells on the wings.

The half-back partnership of Dan Lee and Joe O’loghlen remains unchanged.

Locks Heath Pumas face local Hampshire One rivals Southampton at Brookfield School with a relatively unchanged side. 

First XV stalwart John Pearson returns after injury, and Gus Flack is back following some cracking performances –  including his famous off load in the RFU try of the month. 

Head Coach Liam Moggeridge does not underestimate the task his side faces.

‘Southampton always put in a strong performance and we’ll need to be on the top of our game,’ he said.

The Puma's second team go to the Isle of Wight looking for a win to support their drive for promotion.