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Old Elthamains preview of tomorrows game
noibla (IP Logged)
09 February, 2018 19:56
Elthamians host Plymouth Albion at College Meadow this Saturday (kick-off 2pm), looking to bounce back from two successive defeats.
But while captain Hamish Barton expressed his frustration at the manner of those losses to Caldy and Darlington Mowden Park, he insists no one in the OEs camp is reaching for the panic button.

“We absolutely view both games as points given away,” he said. “We have been on the right side of a couple of very tight ones already this year and you could argue things went our way those days and not against Caldy and Darlington. But in reality they were both games we should have won.

“However, there is no cause for concern as we are a side that is still learning to play together and learning how each other deals with pressure. Closing out games is a real skill and one as a group we are still learning.”

Last Saturday’s 19-14 defeat to second-placed Darlington was a particularly bitter pill for OEs captain to swallow after his side dominated the second half at a rain-drenched College Meadow.

“The mood in the changing room afterwards summed it up,” Barton said. “It was a combination of frustration and disappointment. Despite our first 40 minutes we gave ourselves the chance of winning the game with our second half display but we just weren’t clinical enough. That was in stark contrast to Darlington who had three chances in the first half and took them all. It’s always frustrating to have that much possession and not convert it into points.”

Elthamians were reduced to 13 men after picking up two yellow cards midway through a hard fought opening 40 minutes which saw them behind 19-8 at the interval. But Barton refused to use the sinbinnings as an excuse for the loss.

“The yellow cards were frustrating for sure but I don’t think it actually had that much of an effect on the game despite us conceding a try during the period,” he said. “We talk about not giving away penalties at all, let alone when we are already down to 14 men! I don’t think we do Gav’s [Lach] blood pressure any good on that front.”

Elthamians face another massive test on Saturday against a Plymouth side lying in fourth place but with games in hand after having three games postponed either side of Christmas. When the two sides met at Plymouth’s Brickfields home in October, they had the small matter of Storm Brian to contend with. OEs secured a creditable 17-17 draw with a performance that ranks as the best they have produced on the road in National One so far this season.

“Plymouth are a top three side no question,” Barton said. “Their home form is excellent and they know how to get results in most places away from home. They have a very big and powerful pack and an exciting backline. Without a doubt the game will be decided up front on Saturday and the set-piece will be of huge importance. If conditions don’t improve I fear the backs may not see a huge amount of the ball!”

Semper Sersum.

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