IMPRESSIVE Gosport & Fareham defied atrocious conditions to topple top four visitors KCS Old Boys 24-17 at a windswept Gosport Park.
In the howling wind, blowing straight down the pitch, and the persistent rain it was the home side who got their tactics right.
Although it was a close contest at times senior coach Barry Bridgman was always confident his team would come out on top.
He said: ‘KCS chose to play with the wind in the first half and failed to make the most of it.
‘They didn’t kick for position nearly enough to pin us back.
‘We knew we had to keep hold of the ball and run it back at them.
‘That was something we did well and it kept us in control.
‘We were also able to slide some little kicks through on the slippery ground to test them.
In the second half we did a bit more attacking kicking to keep the pressure on them.
Outside-half Alex Duncombe, scrum-half Wes Dugan and inside centre Sam Foster all got in on the act.
‘We scored some good tries and though there was only one score in it at the end I thought we looked comfortable.’
The home side had the early boost of a sixth-minute try by winger Shaun Taylor.
A high swirling kick ahead caused problems for the visitors.
The ball was not cleared under pressure from the home chasers and Taylor picked up the loose ball to score from 10 yards out.
Duncombe, who kicked superbly all game, knocked over the first of three conversions from the touchline.
KCS levelled the scores on the stroke of half-time with a converted try of their own.
Four minutes into the second half Tom Lewis restored the lead.
He got the first of his two tries to keep Gosport feeling positive.
Though KCS hit back again to level the scores Lewis struck in the 56th minute for the crucial score.
This score resulted from great persistence by the winger.
Duncombe’s kick looked far too long.
But Lewis was prepared to chase a lost cause and was rewarded with the touchdown inches away from the dead-ball line.
Coach Bridgman regarded it as important for a number of reasons.
‘It shows that we can mix it with the best,’ he added.
‘Also it was important for the players self-esteem after our hammering at Twickenham in the last game.
‘All the other teams below us in the league also won so it was a good day to come away with a victory.
‘And finally it keeps us in a position where we don’t have to keep looking over our shoulders.
‘It gives us a little bit of breathing space.’