09:00PM, Wednesday 12 February 2020
Maidenhead RFC paid the price for a slow start in their 25-22 defeat against Newbury Blues at Monks Lane.
After a two week break, David Mobbs-Smith’s side returned to league action on Saturday hoping to extend a run of five games unbeaten in the South West Premier.
But on Saturday, they fell to their first defeat of 2020 and slipped into third place of the South West Premier, 15 points behind league leaders Barnstaple and one point behind Weston-super-Mare who have a game in hand.
“We weren’t firing on all cylinders in the first half to be honest,” said Mobbs Smith.
“It was always going to be a tough game and we were under no illusions as to what was coming.
“The scoreline got to 22-10 before we made a comeback. We got it back level but unfortunately gave away a penalty very late in the game to give them a 25-22 lead.
“We had one more bite of the cherry because a minute later we had our own penalty.
“But instead of going for the draw, we chose to kick to the corner to try and win the game but eventually they turned the ball over to stop us from scoring. It was a really close game.”
Mobbs-Smith admits he took no shame in the defeat, praising a hard-working Newbury side that he believes, should be higher in the league than their current 12th place.
“They’re a good club, successful, and they work hard at what they do,” added the coach.
“It's some achievement for them (to win). They've had six wins and two of those were against the top two in the league at the time.
“You look at these teams towards the bottom of the league, like Newbury, and there's very little in it.
“They're just losing games narrowly, compared to us or Okehampton who have been winning narrowly and are our opponents this week.”
Maidenhead welcome fifth placed Okehampton to Braywick Park this Saturday.
The hosts hold just the slender advantage of five points over their visitors following the defeat to Newbury.
Mobbs-Smith is optimistic his side can return to winning ways to put some breathing space between them and the other sides looking to break into the top three.
“We're third currently and now there's effectively three teams competing for that second place,” said Mobbs-Smith.
“Barnstaple are way out in front and it's now down to them to make mistakes. Then it's Weston-super-Mare and ourselves.
“Okehampton are about five points off us so this week's game is huge. If we win, it can help separate the space between us and them.
“We had a titanic game against them down at their place and it ended 14-12 to them.
“We're aware that they still have aspirations to get into the fight at the top and they know if they beat us, they can be up there.”
“Anybody in that race wants to be up there,” added Mobbs-Smith.
“We'll all be challenging for that (promotion). It's not going to be easy and it's going to go right down to the end I think.
“The beauty of this league system is that you can't rely on the other teams to slip up.
“We have to win the games we have left to play. That's our responsibility.”
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