McRoberts desperate for first win

Forward Chris 'Sumo' Thompson makes a welcome return to the Gosport & Fareham ranks
Forward Chris 'Sumo' Thompson makes a welcome return to the Gosport & Fareham ranks
Gosport head coach Barry Bridgman

Gosport improvement needed against champions

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New Gosport & Fareham coach Neil McRoberts would love to get off the mark with a win against local rivals Havant in their London one south clash at Gosport Park (3pm).

McRoberts appeared for both clubs during his playing career and knows from that experience how intense games between the two clubs can be.

The rivalry will be fierce but at the same time there is a great mutual respect between the respective outfits.

‘We are expecting it to be brutal, particularly at the breakdown,’ said McRoberts.

‘That area will be fiercely contested, with both sides eager to secure the possession and release their talented three-quarters.

‘Both teams have pace outside and will look to exploit it.

‘Experience and discipline will play a big part and we intend to give Havant as little space as possible.

‘It is also vital that we don’t give away cheap penalties that could lose us ground and points and avoid yellow cards.

‘If we can secure the bulk of the possession and control the game then we will give ourselves every chance of picking up a first win.’

Gosport made a losing start to life back in London south one with a 30-25 home reverse against Hove last weekend.

It was a game McRoberts felt his side let ‘get away’ and one they should have won.

The coach felt Gosport were the better side for the majority of the contest but paid for their lapses in concentration.

‘We were the better team for 60 of the 80 minutes but unfortunately that wasn’t enough,’ said McRoberts.

‘Hove showed that at this level teams only need 20 minutes of the game to punish you severely.

‘Other than that we started better and were fitter and stronger at the finish.

‘If we had played another five minutes I am convinced we would have got the score to win it.

‘There were lots of positives and we need to take the lessons on board.’

McRoberts is boosted by the return of two experienced performers in the forwards, in the shape of navy men Tom Blackburn and Chris ‘Sumo’ Thompson.

The prop-forward and number eight are available, before setting off to New Zealand with the navy side.

‘Their experience will be important in the atmosphere of a local derby,’ said McRoberts.

‘Sumo is our talisman going forward and his ball carrying skills are second to none.

‘Apart from a couple of individuals our team is reasonably young and Sumo helps organise them defensively.’

The home side also hope to have centre Kieran McRoberts available to fit into their midfield alongside Jordan Humphreys and Wayne Dugan.

‘We need to produce another good performance,’ said McRoberts.

‘I have no doubts that we are capable of competing at this level.’

Gosport & Fareham: Rory Penfold, Viteli Vilecka, Wayne Dugan, Jordan Humphreys, Alex Heron,

Kieran McRoberts, Wes Dugan, Tom Blackburn,

Mark Jones, Danny Gamblin, Mark Pollard,

Ben Roberts, Ash Wakefield, Chris Thompson, R

ichard Daly. Replacements : Dan Turner, Nathan Titchenor, Spencer Harrison