Struggling Gosport out to make point in battle

Gosport & Fareham have been hit by an injury to influential centre Wayne Dugan, far right            Picture: Malcolm Wells
Gosport & Fareham have been hit by an injury to influential centre Wayne Dugan, far right Picture: Malcolm Wells
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Gosport & Fareham will need all of their battling qualities as they tackle CS Rugby 1863 in a London one south encounter at Gosport Park tomorrow (3pm).

The Blue & Golds are currently propping up the league and are still to register a point after five games.

Senior coach Barry Bridgeman, who took over during the summer, faces a huge task in trying to save the club from relegation.

Bridgman has not been helped by the fact some of the club’s more experienced campaigners, such as number eight Chris Thompson, retired at the end of last season.

A series of injuries to key players in the early games hasn’t helped either.

He has seen plenty of effort and endeavour but so far his side have lacked the quality to compete at this level.

They have conceded a massive 259 points while scoring just 36 points themselves in a difficult start.

On the plus side, the team has shown big improvements in some areas since the first game of the season.

Bridgeman accepts it won’t be easy trying to turn the team’s fortunes around.

Third-placed CS Rugby will present them with another massive test of character.

‘It certainly doesn’t get any easier for us,’ said Bridgeman.

‘Our opponents will arrive expecting to put a big win on the board.

‘It is up to the players we have out there to stand up to that challenge and do their best to prevent that from happening.

‘There is nowhere to hide in this league and if you don’t get things right, then you get punished.

‘It would be nice to get our first points on the board in the league.

‘We thought we might do that last week at Chiswick but butchered the scoring chances we had in the opening 20 minutes.

‘If we had scored first then the situation might have panned out completely differently.’

Gosport have been hit by an injury to influential centre Wayne Dugan and his continued absence is a big blow.

The home side miss his powerful presence along with his combative style of play and ball-carrying ability.

‘The Dugans are both talismanic players for us and when they are not there they are badly missed,’ said Bridgeman.

An injury to Kieron McRoberts means Gosport have to do without both their first-choice centres.

Second-row forward Danny Cheal and prop Nathan Kitchener are also doubts after picking up injuries in training.

Bridgeman has been encouraged by some of the progress made by his team.

At the same time he knows they will have to step their levels up again against CS Rugby.

Bridgeman added: ‘We have to try to get on the front foot early on and use any possession we have to attack them.

‘Our first-up tackling will need to be a lot better.

‘One thing I do know is that our players will give it everything for 80 minutes.’