Hants clubs in pitch battle

Tottonians’ Scott Rogers, right, is unavailable

Tottonians’ Scott Rogers, right, is unavailable

First published in Rugby

Hampshire rugby clubs aim to play league fixture catch-up this weekend – but plenty of grounds still face late pitch inspections.

Tottonians’ London 2 South-West game at home to Effingham & Leatherhead was postponed last weekend, but staff still made use of the time, writes Clive Downton.

Totts had one or two spectators on the touchline to watch tomorrow’s opponents, London Cornish, lose their game at Gosport & Fareham in the seventh minute of time added on.

Totts’ coach Gavin Williams said: “After an enforced lay off of over a month we have our fingers crossed that we will be able to return to action.

“Having watched the London Cornish v Gosport match last week, we know we will be tested and expect Cornish to try and put that disappointment behind them. “They can count themselves very unlucky not to have won against the leaders, in a game where they were undoubtably the better side.”

“However, we are very confident we have the talent and team to come back with a valuable away win.”

Totts bring in Josh Andrews on the wing after he scored a hat-trick for the colts on Sunday. His teammate Mark Simmons returns to first team action, replacing unavailable Scott Rogers at fullback.

Trojans face the formidable task of taking on pacesetters Gosport at Stoneham Park, just seven days after losing out to lowly Portsmouth.

After last Saturday’s improved performance at Guildford, Winchester coach Andy Fields will stick to the same squad for the home match against Old Alleynians, injuries permitting, before another home game against Teddington a week later.

“Make no bones about it”, says Fields, “we have to win the next two games. I expect the lads to rise to the challenge.”

Top places in the exciting Snows Group Hampshire 1 race could all change tomorrow.

Leaders Andover continue their quest to get back into London League rugby with a trip to third-placed Fordingbridge.

Bridge, who had a couple of seasons in SW3 and missed out on promotion by a whisker in the last two seasons, will be keen to make the most of home advantage.

But there is doubt over where the game will be played.

Three first XV players – Dave Timms, Ed Douglas and Alex Tattersall – started pumping water off the recreation ground pitch as early as last Sunday in an effort to get rid of the surface water.

The match, originally scheduled for January 4, needs to be staged this weekend and could be played at nearby Burgate School, or even on Andover’s ground.

Team Solent, second after leading for much of the campaign, head to Alton who are hovering just above the drop zone.

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