AFTER the good result last week, in what was a rare home match, it was back on the road for the trip to Bristol to face Dings Crusaders, a side who sat one place below us in the table.
The side this week saw a few changes. Matt Miles moved back to hooker, Ben Dudley started at 10, Alex Nielsen was on the wing and I came back into the back row. We also welcomed Will Stutchbury back into the side after a 12-month lay-off due to injury.
With all the wet weather, the game was destined to be a tight affair where the conditions would dictate the style of play.
We started well and got to grips with the conditions, quickly keeping hold of the ball and trying to play a wider, fast-tempo game and it wasn’t long before Matt McLean gave us a three-point lead.
Some resolute defence kept the home side at bay as they started to gain a footing in the game with some strong running through their centres. But we soon scored again when, after a good catch and drive from a line out, Jamie was able to find his was over the line and we turned around at half time 10-3 up.
We started the second half knowing that, given the chance, Dings would kick and try to keep us in our half.
This was the story of the half and it was probably not the most entertaining to watch. Apart from the odd break into the Dings half, where we were unable to build on the lead, we spent most of this half defending.
This was the positive taken from the game, the passion and desire to get up off the ground and make tackle after tackle was fantastic and the team spirit showed in keeping the Dings pack from crossing the line.
In fact, it was only a dubious penalty try from a scrum that gave Dings their seven points and the lead.
We responded well and, with less than a minute to play, forced a penalty which Matt again kicked to level the scores and probably a fair result. But it wasn’t to be and after we gave away a penalty, the Dings No 10 stepped up to kick them to victory.
It was a bitterly disappointing result and, to quote one player, “the fourth time this season we have lost by three or less points” – frustrating doesn’t even come close.
Other wins this week went to Henley, Clifton, Richmond, Southend, Taunton, Lydney and Jersey, who beat Ealing .
This week, we are back at home against Newbury and we will be doing our best to get back to winning ways.
We hope to see as many of you at the rugby park as possible.