Gosport & Fareham target end to away-day blues

Wayne Dugan. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (142889-1)
Wayne Dugan. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (142889-1)
Ian French with his daughter Ella, seven, and son Joe, 10. Picture: Duncan Shepherd (180339-003)

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Gosport & Fareham travel to Guildford in London one south looking to cure their travel sickness.

The Gosport Park outfit have failed to pick up any points on their travels so far this season.

Coach Neil McRoberts admitted it was not a new problem for his team.

But he insisted it is something that needs to be addressed.

‘We have not been at our best away from Gosport Park so far this season,’ said McRoberts.

‘In fact we have not travelled particularly well for the last couple of seasons.

‘We don’t seem to be able to reproduce the high standards displayed in front of our home crowd.

‘It is something that we must look to improve.

‘This season has been unfortunate because the away games have coincided with not having key players available.

‘They have come back now, so we will be going to Guildford looking to get something.’

McRoberts’ team will travel with increased optimism tomorrow, though, after they returned to winning ways with a confident 33-10 home win over Dover.

The return of Chris Thompson and Tom Blackburn to the pack gave Gosport an increased physicality in the forward exchanges.

Along with the marauding Tim Snowden, they helped provide the platform which allowed Gosport to play their favoured style of rugby.

When the game started to go against them at the beginning of the second half, the hosts also showed they could dig in and defend.

McRoberts knows his team will need to display the same qualities at Guildford.

And he is looking for them to pick up where they left off in the clash with Dover.

‘Guildford, like Dover, have a big powerful set of forwards,’ said McRoberts.

‘We started well last week and must look to get on the front foot as soon as possible again.

‘When we had to, we made our first up tackles and that will need to be the case again.

‘Having two of our big ball carriers back made a difference.

‘We also showed we can mix it around the fringes of the breakdown.

‘That provides the possession for us to get impetus moving forward.

‘It was also pleasing that when we gained possession we didn’t give it away cheaply.

‘We were patient and waited for our opportunities to come along.’

The visitors are boosted by the return of Ben Roberts, who missed last week due to navy under-21 duties.

Roberts is another important ball carrier who gets through a lot of work around the breakdown.

He gets into good positions and helps get Gosport on the front foot.

If the forwards can set up a platform, Gosport possess a midfield capable of hurting Guildford.

Sam Foster, Kieran McRoberts and Wayne Dugan are all powerful runners.

However, McRoberts feels defence could be the key to defeated Guildford tomorrow.

‘As the away team we can expect to come under some pressure,’ said the head coach.

‘Like last week we must make our first-up tackles.’

GOSPORT & FAREHAM: Lewis, Heron, Humphreys, K McRoberts, Wayne Dugan, Foster, Wes Dugan, Blackburn, Jones, Gamblin, Woods, Roberts, Snowden, Thompson, Darrington, O’Donohue, Westerman