GOSPORT & FAREHAM hauled themselves out of the London one south relegation zone with an impressive 32-26 win over Basingstoke at Gosport Park.
The win was sweet revenge for the 60-15 drubbing suffered at Basingstoke early in the season when the visitors were forced to field a weakened team.
Gosport head coach Neil McRoberts was delighted, particularly with the way his players stood up to a physical test.
He said: ‘We set out with an objective first and foremost to get a win so I’m very pleased to come away with five points.
‘The conditions weren’t easy and Basingstoke are a good outfit.
‘It was a battle and our guys fronted up to come away with five tries.
‘Basingstoke are a strong team but we were much better than them, pretty much everywhere on the park.
‘Our pack was awesome running and carrying the ball into the right areas which Basingstoke couldn’t cope with.
‘As a consequence, they got a bit niggly and had a couple of cheap shots, which to our players’ credit they ignored.
‘Instead we beat them up physically by playing rugby within the confines of the law.
‘We were brilliant and five points says it all.’
A dramatic opening saw a Basingstoke player yellow carded and Wes Dugan open the scoring with a try – all inside the first four minutes.
Home fly-half Alex Duncombe also found himself in the sin-bin soon afterwards but it was the home side who forged further ahead.
On 17 minutes, back-row forward Ed Pascoe went over for his second try in successive games with Wayne Dugan adding the conversion to give the hosts a 15-0 lead.
The action continued thick and fast with number eight Chris Thompson notching a third Gosport try before Basingstoke hit back with two of their own before the break.
‘We were much stronger both going forward and defensively,’ said McRoberts.
‘I don’t think Basingstoke quite expected some of the hits put in by our players and they couldn’t handle it.’
In the second half, further tries from Ben Madigan, with the bonus-point score, and Alex Heron confirmed the home side’s superiority though Basingstoke hit back with two late scores.
Madigan scored his try after the home forwards pushed their rivals back to turnover a scrummage ball.
The final home try arrived when Wes Dugan cheekily chipped over the top for Heron to score.
‘Every thing for us is a huge positive going into another two big games in the next fortnight,’ said McRoberts.
‘The guys are itching to get back out there against Twickenham in the next game.
‘They can see the benefit of preparing properly for these games and we will be having another three-session training week.’