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Basingstoke RFC look to turn Down Grange into a fortress
BASINGSTOKE RFC are looking to make their Down Grange home an impassable fortress for visiting sides and build on last week’s impressive 36-15 victory over Thurrock.
The next visitors are Westcombe Park, who are just one place above ’Stoke in the National League Three London table on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).
The Kent side, like ’Stoke, have won twice out their six starts with their last victory being a 37-21 success over Thurrock, so it looks like the sides will be evenly matched.
Basingstoke coach Will Croker said: “We set ourselves a target of 15 points from the four games, starting with the Thurrock game. We collected five on Saturday and will hope to do the same again this week.
“We are expecting a close game as Westcombe have had a similar start to us, but we want to make Down Grange a fortress.
He added: “We are getting better each week and we scored 21 unanswered points against Thurrock in the second-half and we will be training hard to make sure we can build on last week’s performance.”
The ‘Stoke line-up for the visit of Westcombe is sure to show a few changes as Ash Paterson played his last game for the club as he moves to a new job and full back Jake Whitby has been ruled out for the season after he broke the bottom of his femur and dislocating his ankle in the victory over Thurrock.
On the plus side, second row players Andy Hore and Cama Keresi both return from injury, while Steve Osborne, Karl Buttle, Tim Richards and David Byett are all in contention for a call-up.
Croker said: “Jake (Whitby) has suffered a nasty injury and we won’t expect to see him back for at least a year which is very disappointing.
“Ash (Paterson) is now moving to Shropshire, so this is double blow for the team.
He added: “We are blessed with competition for places and other guys now have the chance to stake a claim to a shirt and many have a lot of first team experience.”
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