For worse for better
- Sunday, 05 March 2017
The 1st XV lost 0-77 at home to league leaders Sidcup yesterday after a first half that Head Coach Barry Bridgman described as "embarrassing" and a second half that he felt was "much, much better" writes Brian Seeney.
Sidcup were 0-46 ahead after scoring eight tries and converting three of them in the first half when Bridgman delivered "a few harsh words" in the half-time huddle.
"I thought we let ourselves down badly in the first half. It seemed the last two weeks of training had been a total waste of time and what we talked about in the dressing room, the plans for the game and they way we were going to play the game just all evaporated the moment we crossed the whitewash.
"Everything seemed to disappear. We were trying to run out of our own 22 when we should have been clearing the ball to get it into touch and get rid of it and not try to run from our own 22 when we were with the wind.
"We knew we were in for a hell of a battle with them physically and what was the point of trying to run out of the 22 when you had the wind behind you? You clear the ball and we clearly didn't do that.
"Then we had the ball roughly on the half way line and we decided to kick the ball for a wing to run on to and it was just nonsense kick and they collected it and ran it back at us.
"Our tackling was soft especially up through the middle where we were missing tackles, falling off tackles and people were caught out of position and Sidcup were running through huge gaps.
"Quite honestly I thought the first half was embarrassing. I think it was the worst half of rugby we've had this season. It was extremely poor.
"I expected a lot more and felt we could have played a lot better. At half-time I got really cross and told them what I thought about it."
In the thick of it - Max Page (left) and Dan Gamblin against Sidcup. Photo: Chris Roberts. More pictures in the Photo Gallery shortly.
In the second half, Gos improved although they conceded a further five tries (three converted).
"I think they decided amongst themselves that I was probably right and that they ought to shape up a bit and in the second half we played much, much better," said Bridgman.
"We went 25 minutes without a score and had we played the way we planned to play - the way we talked about playing - and remember that's not me that's them buying in (to that plan), I think the score would have been far lower.
"Sidcup are a good outfit but they seemed to slack off in the second half. But then they got their heads together and realised they were going a bit soft and that they needed to get some points back.
"It is disappointing in a way that we lost 62-5 up there and we were 20 points worse today although we didn't have as strong a team today as we did up there.
"But there are no excuses, no hiding place because these players are the ones that decided they would buy into what I was telling them and what we should be doing and then to not execute that at all I found was really disappointing and frustrating.
"The backline didn't have lot of opportunities and the scrum was getting pushed all over the place.
"However we did improve in the second half. Our tackling got better and we ran the ball with purpose a couple of times.
"Out of all of this the positives are that Elliott (McMullen) stood out for his tackling and he and Will (Larkin) only missed one tackle each all afternoon which is great when you have youngsters like that coming through.
"I thought Anthony Reynolds carried the ball well and Simon Trivett carried a lot more than usual and those carries were good and that was pleasing.
"So it is not all gloom and doom but it is very disappointing when you play like that."