Gosport & Fareham give Mark Pollard reason to cheer on 'nerve-wracking' afternoon for absent head coach on Sandown & Shanklin trip

Mark Pollard had a few more nerves than usual for Gosport & Fareham's showdown at Isle of Wight-based Sandown & Shanklin on Saturday.

Monday, 27th September 2021, 3:43 pm
Toby Woodford rises highest to collect a line-out for Gosport & Fareham at Sandown & Shanklin. Picture: Carol Snowden

But the head coach had no need to worry as Gosport made it two successive Hampshire Premier wins to start the season with a 25-13 triumph on the island.

Pollard was unable to attend the fixture due to a family commitment which made him even more nervous given he'd not have his usual touchline standpoint.

Instead, he was forced to follow updates on his phone from the match and hope for the best.

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Yet the absence of head coach Pollard proved no problem as Gosport ran in five unconverted tries on the way to a second straight bonus-point triumph.

Ash Wakefield went over twice while Rob Ellis, Matt Forfar and assistant coach Tim Snowdon all got in on the act.

And Pollard heaped praised on his team for coming away victorious despite the travel difficulties they faced getting to Sandown.

He said: ‘I love being on the side of the pitch, it was actually quite tough being away from the boys on Saturday, really. They did a great job, going to the island is never an easy feat. For us, it was two ferries, a bus journey then a walk to Sandown because the trains aren’t running either so logistically it was a bit of a nightmare.

'It was one of those things, it was nerve-wracking for me being on the end of a phone, not being able to see or influence the game.’

Gosport have soared to second with the maximum 10 points from their opening two matches.

But Pollard is refusing to get carried away just yet and insists the message to his squad will be to solely focus on the upcoming game throughout the season.

He added: ‘We’ve got two bonus-point wins, which is the main thing. We go back to training this week preparing for a home game with Chichester 2s this weekend.

‘It’s just a week at a time, that’s all we’re looking at, there’s no point looking far into the future. We turn up on a Tuesday and Thursday night (for training) looking forward to the game on the Saturday.’

n Gosport & Fareham's 2s were defeated 20-17 in a close Hampshire One home battle with Fareham Heathens on Saturday.