01:20PM, Thursday 03 October 2019
Saturday’s 36-33 defeat to Ivybridge was another setback for Maidenhead RFC and head coach David Mobbs-Smith, but the coach viewed it as a ‘speedbump’ in the road rather than something that could derail the trajectory of their season.
Maids are aiming to be up with the promotion challengers in the South West Premier this season and, despite losing successive league matches, they remain just a point behind leaders Barnstaple heading into Saturday’s trip to Launceston.
It’s not been the perfect start to the campaign, by any means, and the error count in the last few matches has enabled their opponents to put far too many scores on the board.
But Mobbs-Smith believes a few defensive tweaks here and there could solve their issues.
His message after Saturday was that the baby shouldn’t be thrown out with the bath water, and he believes the side remain on track to challenge for honours.
“We’ve picked up two points this afternoon, which is not what we want,” he said.
“But I’ve said to the lads, anyone who was with us at the top of the table can only be three points ahead of us, maximum. So that’s where we are.
“It’s not like it’s the whole season doomed, it’s just that this performance wasn’t good enough to win the game.
“It hasn’t changed our trajectory or objectives for the season. It’s just a speed bump and a chance for us to reassess what we’re doing.”
He admitted the error count against Ivybridge was far too high, particularly in the second half when Maids were the dominant team and looking to build on their 26-21 half-time lead.
Had they scored in those crucial 10-15 minutes after the break, they’d have surely gone on to record a comfortable win, but handling errors counted against them and their visitors quickly seized their opportunity.
“They didn’t seem to have to work quite as hard as us to score tries,” he said.
“It’s actually been the other way round in other fixtures. We were finding that, when they got a chance, they took it.
“In the first half we gifted them territory and that put them into the game. From then on they believed. They weren’t a team that were on the ropes, they were the team that felt at home at 21-5 up.
“Then we got back into it and looked like we were going to be the dominant side but just made a few crucial errors.”
Maids may well have faced some of the sides likely to challenge them for the title this season, in Exeter University, Exmouth, Drybrook and Ivybridge – last season’s table would certainly suggest as much.
So it will be interesting to see how they bounce back from their last two defeats in the coming weeks, starting at Launceston on Saturday.
“It’s a long journey and we have a few people away for different reasons so it’s going to be a tough, hard, fixture for us,” said Mobbs-Smith.
“But we have to bounce back if we want to stay in the league hunt.”
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