After an encouraging start to the season against a strong Exeter University team at Topsham with some determined play and mostly good tackling, the wheels came off completely against Exmouth the following week in an embarrassingly woeful defensive performance, the visitors winning by 76-24.
For much of the game it seemed that the visitors only had to run at our midfield for gaps to appear and tries to be scored. It was a combination of poor defensive organisation and poor tackling.
Our scrum was also under pressure for most of the game and by the end it was almost disintegrating. I am sure the coaches had their reasons for dropping or resting Greg Thomas but our success last season was built on the foundations that Greg and Rikki Bentham laid up front.
The only redeeming feature was that we managed to score 4 good tries, 3 by our wingers, and gained a try bonus point.
The following week we went to Ivybridge. Greg Thomas and Brandon Rowley came in for Rory Cinnamond and Fred Bulut who dropped to the bench with Tom Bottoms replacing the injured Chris MacDonald. Winger Louis Ogilvie also got his first start in place of the injured Eddie McGinley and Ryan Westren moved to fly half with Shaun Crawford coming into the centre and Glenn Coles dropping to the bench.
I did not see the match but the coaches felt we played better than against Exmouth although we were still well beaten 69-14 by an Ivybridge team that scored 11 tries to 2. We shall need to tighten our defence and win more ball if we are going to compete in this league.
This afternoon we are at home to Maidenhead who are apparently hoping for promotion to National 2.