Blend of youth and experience helps Gosport & Fareham to positive start
Gosport & Fareham made a positive start to their campaign with a 22-12 Hampshire Bowl win at Sandown & Shanklin.
Because of injuries and unavailability, the visitors fielded an exciting mix of young and experienced players, with senior debuts for Iain Grice and Tom Bell.
The visitors’ defence had to stand strong early on as Sandown moved the ball out wide.
Having survived the early pressure Gosport & Fareham started to play with pace and intensity and forced an error from their hosts.
Matt Forfar stifled a home ball at the base of a scrum and a combination of hard running and good combination between forwards and backs led to the first try.
Prop-forward Jordan Carter claimed the score with Dom Holling converting.
The game became fractious, with both teams being frequently penalised.
Gosport retained the upper hand and went in 22-7 ahead at half-time courtesy of a Holling penalty and tries from Ian White and Shaun Taylor.
In the second half, tensions rose and the home side had a player red carded.
Gosport coach George Hillan felt it was a decent start from his troops.
He said: ‘In the first half, we played with pace and intensity and in the second were happy just to see it through.
‘Sandown is never an easy place to go and get a result.
‘We are not a finished article and it has highlighted areas we need to develop.'
Gosport & Fareham open their London three south west season against Old Tiffinians at Gosport Park on September 14.
Meanwhile, Locksheath Pumas opened up at their new headquarters at Wide Lane by thrashing Aldershot & Fleet 74-0 in the Hampshire Plate.
The Pumas – who gave debuts to Iain Fraser, Toby Wilson, Lewis Heathrow and Simon Dredge – outclassed their Hampshire three rivals.
The hosts scored 12 tries with Robbie Connell adding six conversions.
Chairman George Winch said: ‘Our game day preparation was excellent under new team manager Cliff Williams.’
The Pumas host Overton in the second round next weekend.