Winchester ended the season in style, putting 7 trys past Gosport & Fareham and hauling themselves off the bottom of the table. Gosport came determined to enhance their league status but their players left outplayed in every department. It was such a convincing win that they couldn’t imagine how Winch had been relegated.
This was a great way to end a to end a difficult season for Captain Jim Beavan, who has put himself in the front line for every game “When we play with intensity, with quick ruck speed and width, we look really good! It is so rewarding to end the season with a result”
Three Winchester players scored two trys each, but the seventh went to veteran player coach Gareth Martin who cantered in with over 150 former players cheering him over the line after their annual lunch.
Winch started the game at pace as hooker Alex Lee scored the first of his brace off a driving maul and a conversion by Josh Tolan put Winch into a lead they were never to relinquish. Within two minutes of the restart Winch sucked in the Gosport defence creating the chance for Tom Forster to skip past two tacklers and in for a second try at the corner.
Now 12 points ahead Winch slipped up in the most infuriating way as they have done all season, and poor tackling saw Gosport home for a try. Winch were now under the cosh for twenty minutes, as Gosport threw everything into attack. Winch stood square in defence waiting for their chance; it came as prop Ben Turner collected a loose pass, broke the line and sprinted rapidly into Gosport’s half. He made a perfect offload to Forster who outpaced the opposition in the defining moment of the first half. Forster’s second touchdown made him Winchester’s leading try scorer.
With a lead of 12 points Winch were visibly confident, even another soft try for Gosport was not going to derail them as Tolan quietly added three points for a poor piece of indiscipline. They finished the half 20 points to 10 ahead.
Gosport came out fired up, but a knock on gave Winch a scrum allowing Patch Cheshire to kick them back deep into their half. Gosport defended only to be outclassed as a delayed inside pass from Cheshire set up Jesse Ribeiro for a storming run under the posts. This was the bonus point try and Gosport looked visibly shaken.
Winch have stumbled in the second half many times this season but today they were ice cool, and in that pressurised third quarter the defensive line held. Today they were patient and took their opportunities, scoring two further unanswered trys over a clearly dispirited Gosport side, who had begun to leak penalties. Another well timed pass put Martin into space and the Number 8 found the energy to touch down under the posts. An attacking lineout ball to the imperious Matt Golding allowed the forwards to drive Alex Lee over for his second, putting Winch into a commanding 42 – 10 lead.
The game was won at this point, Gosport players were out on their feet and were grateful for an injury break that saw the teams reform. Ribeiro scored again, underlining Winch’s superiority and although Gosport were able to make some consolation scores, the result was never in doubt.
Coach Martin “To beat a team like Gosport you have to play quality football. To score it takes all the guys to play their part to give that one man the chance to score Today we played that quality football; everyone did their job.” Last week six trys were not enough to keep them in the league, but this week seven trys demolished a top team and demonstrated that Winch may be down, but they will be back.
Trys: Forster x2 Lee x2 Ribeiro x2 Martin
Conversions: Tolan x3
Penalties: Tolan x2
Updated 13:47 - 15 Apr 2018 by derek Cheshire
B Turner, A Lee, J Beavan, C Ettinger, J Affandari, M Golding, A Hiscock, G Martin
P Cheshire, J Ribeiro, M Harling, J Tolan, W Wood, D Wandless, T Forster
Replacements: C Keegan, M Lampard