McRoberts full of praise as Gosport & Fareham master elements

Alex Duncombe. Picture: Sarah Standing (141230-3568)
Alex Duncombe. Picture: Sarah Standing (141230-3568)
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Gosport & Fareham refused to let the wind and rain blow them off course as they defeated fellow London one south strugglers Dover 13-10 at Gosport Park.

In atrocious conditions, the hosts battled to a win that lifted them off the bottom of the table.

Neil McRoberts praised the determination of his players to master the elements for a deserved victory.

The head coach said: ‘It was never going to be a game of free-flowing open rugby.

‘The winners were always going to be the team that adapted to the conditions the better.

‘I felt we knuckled down, worked hard and did just that.

‘We edged it in that area and our experience of playing the unique conditions at Gosport Park was another factor.

‘It can be a strange place and not many teams come here and use the wind well.’

Gosport found themselves playing into the strong wind in the first half and it needed a monumental effort to keep Dover at arm’s length.

Outside-half Alex Duncombe managed some good distance on his clearing kicks against the wind.

Most of the time, however, it was a case of winning line-out ball and playing a pick-and-carry game to move away from their own line.

The midfield defence of Kieran McRoberts and Duncombe was outstanding when Dover attacked through the middle channels.

The hosts were also indebted to the sterling work of Chris Thompson, Ben Lanigan, Mark Pollard and Tim Snowden at the breakdown.

McRoberts was delighted when his team went in at half-time with a 3-0 lead courtesy of a Duncombe penalty.

‘With the wind behind us in the second half we were able to control the game more,’ said McRoberts.

Duncombe added another penalty soon after the break but Dover replied with the first try of the game to get back within a point.

Midway through the half, Gosport extended their lead with their only try of the game.

A good bout of passing, involving forwards and backs, ended with winger Dave Cleary crossing for the try.

Duncombe added the conversion to leave the home side 13-5 up with 15 minutes remaining.

Dover refused to give up, though, and hit back with another try five minutes from the end.

‘It was a very nervy final five minutes,’ said McRoberts.

‘You know at that stage just one lapse in concentration can cost you the win.

‘However, we stuck to our task, kept them out and finally secured the win we deserved.

‘This is a massive victory for us because if we hadn’t won we would have been in danger of being cut off at the bottom.

‘We have targeted games between now and Christmas where we expect to pick up points.

‘If we achieve that then it will leave us well-placed.’