Ashley wants fortress Gosport Park

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Steve Cruddas will start for Havant. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

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Director of rugby Scott Ashley is urging Gosport & Fareham to lift themselves as they welcome Sutton & Epsom to Gosport Park in London one south.

After the excellent derby win over Havant, the Blue & Golds were optimistic ahead of their first away game last weekend.

The visitors, however, were brought back down to earth with a bump as Twickenham cruised to a comfortable 26-0 win.

Unavailability and injuries hit the squad hard in the capital, but Ashley knows his team have to do better this time around.

Ashley is convinced the key to Gosport’s success this season will rest on how they perform at home.

‘We have to win our home games and turn Gosport Park into a fortress,’ said Ashley.

‘It is vital we draw a line in the sand after our latest loss and are prepared to go again.

‘The defeat left a bitter taste in the mouth and that is something I want the players to hate.

‘Our league looks very open this year so every point could prove vital.

‘It is important that we reach the mid-season break in the best position possible.

‘We want to avoid what happened to us last time we were at this level, spending the second half of the season trying to fend off relegation.’

Ashley is hoping to have a number of players returning to strengthen his squad ahead of this weekend.

However, he is still without four senior players who are in New Zealand with the Royal Navy squad.

He needs a few more players to step up and fill their shoes.

That was something they failed to do at Twickenham.

‘Twickenham scored inside two minutes and that isn’t good enough,’ said Ashley.

‘We have to be far more prepared and awake than that.

‘The players have to come out and deal with what is thrown at them.

‘They need a back-up plan for when things are not going their way.

‘More players need to take responsibility in putting things right on the pitch.

‘Against Sutton & Epsom, players, if necessary, the players must be prepared to put their bodies on the line.’

One area where the home side will need to improve is the set-piece.

Against Twickenham, Gosport failed to win enough ball from scrum and line-outs.

This meant they couldn’t create a platform to bring their three-quarters into the game.

It was in total contrast to the Havant victory, when the home backs took charge.

‘We have to play with 100-per-cent passion, determination and 
commitment if we are to get back to winning ways,’ said Ashley.

‘This is a game we must look to