Returning-hero Vance is the star for Gosport

Gosport are in fine form
Gosport are in fine form
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Doncaster Knights Rugby Club and former Havant rugby player Ian Williams. Picture: Doncaster Knights Rugby Club/PA Wire

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Full-back Andy Vance grabbed a hat-trick of tries as Gosport & Fareham extended their perfect start in London two south west with a thumping 39-17 win at Bognor.

Vance, who returned to the club after a four-year absence in the summer, crossed twice in the first half before adding his third try at the death.

Head-coach Mark Wells is delighted with the way his men have started the season.

He is putting it down to the hard work of his coaching staff and the players during the summer.

‘Our away form last season wasn’t good but we are building a different mind-set in the team,’ said Wells.

‘Our basic target is to go and win all our away games by 10 to 12 points, but how we do it will vary from game to game.

‘The personnel in our squad has hardly changed but we have tried to give them a clear focus and structure.

‘We are about increasing the belief in what they can do as individuals and as a team.

‘Having Andy Vance back is making a big difference because he has lots of experience playing around the world with the Navy and Combined Services.

‘Andy and Wayne Dugan in the centre provide us with a lot of stability.’

Gosport wasted little time taking charge of the game at Bognor, even though they started off playing against the wind.

Three tries in the opening 15 minutes rocked the hosts back on their heels.

On seven minutes, Wes Dugan took a quick-tapped penalty before feeding Vance for the opener.

And within five minutes, Vance ran 40 metres for his second try.

Dugan scored under the posts, with Sam Foster adding the conversion, to put the visitors clearly in charge.

Bognor, however, hit back by scoring two tries and a conversion to make the score 12-17 at the break.

The visitors came out for the second half with renewed determination.

Ash Burton added an unconverted try for Gosport, nine minutes after the restart, but the game became increasingly fractious.

Twice, brawls erupted but, once the dust settled, Wes Dugan increased Gosport’s lead with a try converted by Alex Duncombe.

Vance put the icing on the cake for Gosport, completing his hat-trick with a try under the posts, again converted by Duncombe.

‘All Bognor wanted to do in the second half was kick us up in the air,’ said Wells.

‘We stood up to that and our running rugby at pace proved too much for predictable Bognor.

‘It has been a very encouraging start and we are determined to improve on last season.’