Rugby sides keeping their fingers crossed

Basingstoke Gazette: GAVIN WILLIAMS GAVIN WILLIAMS

Hopeful rugby coaches are waiting on news of pitch inspections across Hampshire, keeping their fingers crossed that another weekend will not be wiped out by the elements.

Just a handful of games went ahead in the county seven days ago and the postponements must be played at the first opportunity.

January 18, originally marked down as a day for cup action or a free day, will now be used to stage outstanding league games.

And other ‘days off’ for amateur rugby players, namely February 1 and 22 and March 15, which coincide with the Six Nations, are also earmarked for league catch-up games should the weather bite into more fixtures.

London 2 South-West leaders Gosport & Fareham were due to travel to Trojans for their first game in 2014 last weekend, but now face a home tie against a dangerous London Cornish outfit.

Winchester were expecting to kick off at home after the festive break but now head to second-placed Guildford.

Coach Andy Fields said: “I’d have preferred to get back in action against Old Alleynians last week.

“But we’re all looking forward to the challenge at Guildford. We gave them quite a fright when they came here in October.

“We recovered from 7-22 down at half-time to 21-27 and a bonus point at the end of the game.”

Fields welcomes back a number of players from injury, and supporters will be keen to see how stalwart Campbell Ettinger and ex-national league newcomer Rob Rees combine in the second row.

Trojans head for Portsmouth and hope to distance themselves from their Hampshire rivals by picking up their fifth victory of the season.

Tottonians refuse to throw the towel in as far as promotion is concerned and will be aiming for victory and a bonus point from visitors Effingham & Leatherhead.

Totts were aiming to make a late check on their aptly-named Water Lane ground.

Coach Gavin Williams said: “There’s a lot of standing water on it, but the pitch is in good nick because it has not been played on since the Trojans game (December 14).

“We are at the mercy of the rainfall between now and Friday. Fingers crossed, because we want to play – the players are itching for it.”

Totts have their first choice pack available and regular back Richard Buck moves to scrum half.

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