Slow start and sloppy defending costs Fareham Heathens
Dave Wheaton blamed Fareham Heathens’ 38-27 Hampshire premier defeat against New Milton & District on a slow start and sloppy defence.
The player-coach was encouraged, however, by an improved second-half performance.
He said: ‘We started slowly and quickly conceded a converted try after some missed tackles.
‘It wasn’t long though until our new centre pairing of Kris Owens and Ted Mata started to find their feet.
‘They made good ground going forward against a well-organised New Milton defence.
‘We scored a try but sloppy defending allowed New Milton to score twice before the break.
‘At half-time we spoke about the want and desire to perform along with the need to tackle hard.
‘We were much improved in the second half with our forwards dominating the scrums and line-outs.’
The home side began to steal the New Milton line-out ball.
Second row forward James Whitfield produced some effective ball carrying and the rejuvenated Heathens pack were boosted by a 40 metre driving maul.
Wheaton added: ‘It was our poor tackling in the first half that cost us.
‘That is so frustrating when after an honest half-time discussion the team turned things around.
‘We just lack the belief and confidence at times and that has been a recurring theme all season.
‘With two more league games and a Hampshire Plate final left to play we know what we have to focus on.
‘It is important to us that we finish the season well.’
Gosport & Fareham slid closer to London two south west relegation with a heavy 50-3 home defeat against Old Tonbridgians.
The Blue and Golds are seven points adrift of safety with just two games left to play.
Dane Smallbone kicked a first half penalty for the hosts only points of the game.
In London three south west United Services Portsmouth suffered a fourth successive reverse.
Services endured a 53-7 defeat at Old Georgians.
Petersfield kept their slim survival hopes alive with a 33-25 win against bottom club Teddington at Penns Place.
Locks Heath Pumas were awarded a home walk over against Andover II in Hampshire one.