Wells wields axe

Wayne Dugan returns to the Gosport & Fareham starting line-up
Wayne Dugan returns to the Gosport & Fareham starting line-up
Gosport head coach Barry Bridgman

Gosport improvement needed against champions

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Head coach Mark Wells has swung the axe ahead of his top-of-the-table side’s London two south west visit to London Cornish.

Wells has shown no mercy after a disappointing performance at home to Tottonians a fortnight ago, dropping five players.

Tottonians let Gosport off the hook by spurning a last-minute penalty chance that would have denied the home side victory.

The coach was distinctly unhappy with that performance, though.

As a result, captain Tim Snowden, centre Liam Moggeridge, number eight Matt Flower, back Alex Heron and lock Toby Woodford have all been axed from the starting line-up for tomorrow’s clash.

‘We were poor last time and I have dropped these players as a result of that,’ said Wells.

Centre Wayne Dugan, fly-half Alex Duncombe, flanker Jonathan Wood, second-row Mark Pollard and back-row forward Chris Thompson return to the starting XV.

Duncombe’s return at fly half following a hamstring injury means his stand-in, Sam Foster, can move back to centre, where he won his December player-of-the-month award for some outstanding displays.

Andy Vance returns to his familiar full-back berth after covering for the one-match absence of Wayne Dugan, and Wood’s recall is at the expense of skipper Snowden.

‘On present form, this is my best team and the players coming in are the spine of the side,’ said Wells.

‘We have had to re-focus and re-charge our promotion effort because London Cornish will pose a very real threat to our unbeaten away record.

‘They have suffered with injuries but they have players coming back.

‘They are a good side with a strong pack of forwards.

‘Last season we couldn’t win away, except once, and this season we have really focused on that and on our defence.

‘Our mind-set away from home has been excellent.

‘For the moment, we know Cornish will provide a real test and we cannot afford to let our efforts drop off as we did in our last game.’

Gosport & Fareham: Vance, Jones G, Dugan Wayne, Foster, Thorne, Duncombe, Dugan Wes, Pickett, Clark, Whitehead, Smith M, Pollard, Madigan, Wood, Thompson, Burton, Snowden, Flower, Heron