Shutout secures huge Eastleigh victory

By Connor Steel

GOSPORT AND FAREHAM RUGBY FOOTBALL CLUB (GFRFC) kept their seventh shutout of the 2021-22 season to date as they thrashed Eastleigh II forty-two-nil at Dolphin Crescent on Saturday, keeping a continued pace with Havant IIs at the top of the Hampshire Premier League table.

The hosts made a great start in dry conditions and took advantage of a bouncy surface, scoring their first try after three minutes. After fine work at a scrum an angled kick was gathered by Samuel Gee and the full-back made no mistake, kicker Alex Duncombe adding the conversion.

And the hosts doubled their lead after just eleven minutes into proceedings, birthday boy Ben Smith scoring a try as he drove forward through the struggling defence before placing the ball down. Two further points were added off the boot with another conversion in light breezy gusts.

Eastleigh then saw an attack break down after a knock-on with the hosts taking full advantage; tricky footwork and acceleration allowing Dominic Holling to pile over the line for a fine individual effort in the nineteenth minute. For the third time Duncombe added the two extra points to make it 21-0.

Just before half-time, GFRFC sealed a bonus point with their fourth try of the afternoon; the ball was worked out to Alex Jones on the overlap and added another maximum pointer as he dived over. His try was backed up by the kicker, who comfortably converted to make it 28-0 at the break.

Although Eastleigh did have a spell of territorial possession after the interval, the hosts added a fifth try in the 47th minute. Rewarded for good passing on the 22-yard line, Simon Trivett ran through two defensive challenges and dived into the corner, the conversion adding to the scoreline.

To their credit Eastleigh weren’t crumbling and produced a spell of resistance, fresh legs coming on to help their cause with a series of long kicks away from danger. This seemed to frustrate GFRFC as they struggled to break through as Duncombe was sinbinned for a misjudged tackle.

But the numerical disadvantage didn’t stop GFRFC from adding a sixth and final try in the 67th minute of play, twenty year-old Smith celebrating in style as he added his second of the afternoon. With the normal kicker temporarily off the field, Holling added two further points to the tally.

There wasn’t any further changes to the scoreline in the final ten minutes, but the hosts were down to 13 men after Tim Snowden joined his teammate in the sinbin. Not that this made Eastleigh’s task any easier as the home defence stood firm to win 42-0 and seal another clean sheet.

With this victory GFRFC stay second in the table, with 61 points from thirteen games including twelve wins. They will hope to secure another shutout in defence when they play Millbrook away on Saturday afternoon before hosting third-place Bognor to end the month of January.

PICTURED BY MARTIN BURNETT: Celebrations as Gosport and Fareham score another try to beat Eastleigh IIs