11:09AM, Thursday 21 November 2019
Barnstaple 27, Maidenhead 20.
On Saturday, Maidenhead RFC journeyed west to play Barnstaple hoping to impose the form they displayed in their previous tie against Weston-super-Mare.
But David Mobbs-Smith’s side journeyed back in despondency having lost to a team the head coach thought his men ‘dominated’ against.
With the confidence of a flawless 22-0 performance last weekend, their success couldn’t be repeated as Maidenhead fell to a 27-20 defeat to league leaders Barnstaple.
Having taken an early lead with a penalty try, boss Mobbs-Smith said he was in no doubt his team could have gone on to pick up a result at Pottington Road.
“We played well and with some good confidence,” said Mobbs-Smith.
“There was no question about us not thinking we couldn’t win there.
“We created opportunities and just didn’t take some of them even though we dominated a lot of the game.
“We went into the break 10-7 down and that just gave them (Barnstaple) some belief.”
After a spell of attacking pressure in the second half, built upon through the sin bin of Maids’ Hannigan, Barnstaple had built up a resounding 24-7 lead.
Maidenhead had to dig deep with 14 men and hard-fought points were won back with Ed Keohane’s penalties and Jaryd Robinson’s try putting the visitors back in contention approaching the latter stages of the game, the score 24-20.
But Haydn Lidstone put the final nail in the coffin and scored a late penalty to give Barnstaple the advantage of seven points come full time.
The win keeps Barnstaple at the top and Maidenhead third in the South West Premier.
“It’s a bitter disappointment with the result in the end. But we got a bonus point away from home and it was definitely a good performance,” added Mobbs-Smith. “It was just a close game and they edged us.”
Barnstaple’s director of rugby Jeremy Chugg said the side ‘defended like demons’ to maintain their lead at the top.
Chugg said: “"We went backwards on rails at times in the scrums and that's never a good platform to work from.
"We defended like demons in the first half under pressure and Haydn Lidstone kicked brilliantly for field position to give us scoring chances we capitalised on.
"To turn round 10-7 up considering how much pressure we had been under says something about the side. After that it was our fitness that won it for us.
"Maidenhead have some big units, but the longer the game went on the slower they became and we were able to play the rugby we wanted."
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