Beaten but better
- Sunday, 11 September 2016
The 1st XV suffered their second successive London 1 South loss going down 5-55 at home to Tottonians yesterday but despite what the scoreline suggests, they showed a marked improvement on their opening day defeat a week earlier writes Brian Seeney.
The losing margin was bigger by three points but there was consolation in a try by Nathan Titchener in the 51st minute - the first for the prop in three seasons of intermittent first team action - and Head Coach Barry Bridgman found much that he felt was a positive improvement on that 47-0 slump at Sevenoaks on the opening Saturday.
"If we had played (today) like we did last week we would have been on the receiving end of a 100 (points)," Bridgman told me after the match.
"The scrum was much much better than it was last week, the lineout was going pretty well but where we lost it was we coughed up too much ball in tackles and in open play where the ball was being passed and we didn't get hold of it properly.
"Our first up tackling was lacking in the first half especially but sometimes our tackling was excellent.
"However the thing that pleased me most was the guts and determination shown (by us). You can't coach that but you can work on all the skills and techniques.
Try for prop Nathan Titchener - his first in three seasons. Photo: Chris Roberts. More pictures in the photo Gallery later.
"But credit to Totts. When they exploited a gap they exploited it very well and the executed almost every time they had the chance.
"They were putting four or five people through every hole and we eventually ran out of tacklers. So fair play to them for that.
"And of course they had Robbie Searle at 10 who dominated the territory in the first half with his kicking.
"He pinned us back in our half in the first half and we never got out apart from kicking off.
"We did manage to score this week but I don't think we exploited our pick and drive enough but again it was better than we played last week.
"We started to exploit the wind and territory a little better in the second half.
"I felt we played better this week but Totts exploited because they are a very good side.
"They were the top side in the county in this division last season and they are looking like, they'll maintain that with two wins out of two for them."
Gos were disrupted by two early injuries to full back Wayne Dugan after only eight minutes and then centre Tom Lewis towards the end of the half.
They can ill afford to lose two of their leading lights - both have thigh problems - and whilst Dugan will be desperate to play in next Saturday's derby at Havant and may have a chance of doing that, Lewis' problem looks more long term.
Gos remain bottom of the table and point-less with a points' difference of -97 to Dover's -76, Chiswick -72 and Brighton on -37, the latter losing at home to Havant 0-27 yesterday which highlights the size of the task Bridgman's boys face next Saturday against the Hooks Lane outfit who are in fifth place having drawn with Sidcup, always a top side, in the first week.