Basingstoke RFC look to get 2014 off to a winning start at Thurrock

Matt Horne carries the ball during 'Stoke's win over Thurrock earlier in the season.

Matt Horne carries the ball during 'Stoke's win over Thurrock earlier in the season. Buy this photo

First published in Sport by , Sports Reporter

BASINGSTOKE RFC will go in search of their first double of the season on Saturday, when they travel to Thurrock in National League Three London.

Earlier in the campaign, ’Stoke were good value for their 36-15 win over the Kent side and they will be looking for another five points on Saturday.

Last weekend Basing-stoke’s home game against Old Elthamians was post-poned due to standing water on all the pitches at Down Grange. It will now be played on February 1.

The Hampshire Cup semi-final away at Portsmouth, which was due to played on that day, has been moved back to February 22.

Going into 2014, the mood in the ‘Stoke camp is good as Tim Coghlan, Adam Davies and Freddie Gleadowe returned last week and, for the trip to Thurrock, Steve Osborne, Jamie Folan and Jake Henderson are all also added to the squad.

The home side have won just twice in 14 starts and are 14 points behind ’Stoke, who occupy the final slot above the relegation zone at the moment – making it a crunch game for Thurrock.

Looking ahead to the clash, Basingstoke RFC director of rugby James Croker said: “This is a huge game for them and I excpect them to come out all guns blazing for the first 10 to 14 minutes, so we have to be aware of this.

“We played very well against two of the top sides just before Christmas and most will agree we should have won against Tonbridge.

“We have a lot of players back now and it is time for us to up the ante and move ourselves into a mid-table position.”

He added: “We will look at the Thurrock DVD and see where we were successful last time and look to do this again.

“They are a side who score a lot of points and concede quite a few as well, so we have to make sure we are strong in defence.”

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