05:42PM, Wednesday 28 November 2018
Perry Jansen (above) scored Maidenhead’s solitary try against Barnstaple
Russell Bolton claims Maidenhead RFC aren’t ‘a million miles off’ the best sides in the South West Premier, despite the severity of Saturday’s 39-7 defeat at Barnstaple.
A weakened Maids team, without a host of key players, was put to the sword in a commanding display from the Chiefs. However, Bolton is confident that, when all of his players are fit and available, Maids would be a match for them.
Ed Keohane and Will Macaulay, who both missed the trip to north Devon because of teaching commitments, and the Darlington brothers – who’ve been away on international duty for the past couple of weeks – will be back for the visit of leaders Bournemouth on Saturday, and Bolton is hopeful his near full- strength side will find a couple of chinks in their armour.
“Bournemouth have recruited really strongly and have some top players, so we’ll see if we can get to their level on Saturday,” said Bolton.
“We beat them at home last season and it was a close game away from home and, although we can’t base too much on that, it means we know we can take the game to them.
“I’m not sure what to expect from them but there are areas we’ll target and we’ll try to get at them playing smart, sensible rugby.”
Bolton doesn’t think Saturday’s scoreline is a fair reflection on his squad, and says the players that did make the trip stood up to be counted.
“I don’t want to take anything away from the players we took down to Barnstaple but we weren’t at our strongest,” added Bolton.
“We lost the game but it wasn’t for a lack of effort. Their line-out was a big weapon for them and they scored twice from catch-and-drives.
“It was a competitive game but they were always on top and picked us off when we tired in the second half.
“I don’t think we’re too far apart from the likes of Barnstaple when we’ve got our strongest side out. They’re not a superstar team but they are very strong and well organised.
“I’m sure we can cause them some problems when they come to us and I don’t think we’re a million miles off them.”
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