Gosport produce season’s best in Brighton draw

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Gosport & Fareham coach Neil McRoberts praised the work ethic of his players following a thrilling 17-17 London one south draw against Brighton at Gosport Park.

A Tom Lewis penalty five minutes from the end secured the draw in a game McRoberts felt his team could have won.

The result leaves Gosport 10th in the league after 11 matches.

‘That is the best shift we have put in this season,’ said McRoberts.

‘It was also the best game of rugby at Gosport Park since last season’s play-off win over Maidstone.

‘We could possibly have won it but ultimately a draw was probably the fairest result.

‘It was important that we stopped leaking points and I felt we did that against very good attacking opponents.

‘Basically it was a game between two cracking sides that was a bit of an old fashioned war of attrition with some good rugby thrown in.

‘There were a lot of big hits and, although we had the better of them in the pack, Brighton were very dangerous in broken play.’

The visitors started strongly, racing into a five-point lead inside the opening seven minutes before Wayne Dugan pegged them back with two penalties.

Another Dugan penalty gave the home side a 9-5 lead at the interval but ruthless Brighton regained the advantage with a try just a minute into the second half.

Within two minutes, though, Dugan continued his one-man crusade against the Sussex side with a bulldozing run for the first Gosport try.

The topsy-turvy nature of the game continued with a terrific converted try for the visitors before Lewis finally levelled matters with his late penalty.

McRoberts had particular praise for debut-making prop forward Josh Gilmartin and his three Royal Navy under-23 talents who were playing their second game in two days.

‘Our navy players came through two hard physical games in 24 hours and deserve praise for that,’ said McRoberts.

‘Josh (Gilmartin) has been out of rugby for a year but showed glimpses of what he will bring to the table when fully fit.

‘We showed we can take these teams on in the tight and we should not underestimate how powerful we can be through the middle of the park.

‘With a little bit more faith and a bit more belief in ourselves we can become even better,’ said McRoberts.

Gosport take a break from league action next weekend but resume the following week at Sidcup.

Fareham Heathens returned to winning ways with a confident 44-6 win over Hampshire one strugglers Alton at Cams Alders.

Winger Tom McPherson grabbed a hat-trick of tries as Heathens produced a dominant second-half performance to coast home to glory.

Locks Heath Pumas centre Steve Collins must be wondering what he has to do to win the man-of-the-match award.

Collins raced in for four tries as the Hampshire two league leaders crushed Aldershot & Fleet 48-6.

Instead the award went to tight-head prop Dave Launder for his effective work in the forwards.

‘Opponents raise their game against us because we are top,’ said coach Jim Pearce.

‘In the first half too many players were talking instead of focusing on their game.’