Vandals better watch out

United Services in training session at Burnaby Road Picture: Mick Young
United Services in training session at Burnaby Road Picture: Mick Young
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Tom Whitehouse. Picture: Neil Marshall (171730-81)

Pearce fires warning to triumphant Portsmouth

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Gosport & Fareham begin life back in London two south west with a trip to newly-promoted Weybridge Vandals.

The Blue & Golds found the step up to London one south too much last season and dropped straight back down.

Coach Scott Ashley believes his side can put those disappointments behind them and be a force again this season.

‘I think we have a slightly stronger squad than last season,’ said Ashley.

‘Our aim is to finish in the top third of the league.

‘At the same time we want to consolidate and develop the club further on both the rugby and the social front.’

United Services have a tough start to their Hampshire One campaign against one of the promotion favourites – Millbrook.

If the main pitch at Burnaby Road isn’t available, Services will stage the game at Clarence Fields.

‘We have a difficult opening four or five games and will be tested straight away,’ said director of rugby Simon Burns.

‘That is not a bad thing because it will show us where we are at.

‘Traditionally, Millbrook possess a strong pack but we have strengthened in that area and will look to take them on.

‘Our pre-season has been good. We have also had a few players join us and others have come back to the club.’

Services have picked up forwards Trevor Westerman and Anthony Reynolds, along with threequarters Barny Barnes and Josh Whitehead from Gosport & Fareham.

Forwards Rob Kent, Mark Humberstone and Sid Little return, while captain Will Blackett is available again after a series of injuries.

In Hampshire Two, Fareham Heathens lock horns with Locks Heath Pumas, while Southsea Nomads start with a trip to Ventnor.