SWINDON College Old Boys chairman Martin Peaple prefered to see the positives after losing away at second placed Thatcham 18-5 in their Southern Counties North league game.

His side were in the right in the match after drawing within one point early in the second half.

“You’ve got to be on a high after that sort of performance, we contained the team second in the league for most of the game and it was far closer than the score suggests,” Peaple said.

“The guys that have come in from the seconds are now up to speed and getting used to playing at this level. It was a worthwhile trip for the weeks ahead.”

The Old Boys rejigged line-up saw usual centres Tom Birnie and Eoin Crean brought into the back row, with few new faces from the seconds plugging other holes left by injury.

In the first half the unfamilair defence held strong against a a combination of Thatcham and the windy conditions. Having conceded only two penalties to trail 6-0 at the half Old Boys were confident that with the weather in there favour they’d get back into the game after the change of ends.

So it proved when Old Boys pack shoved over the line for the first points of the second half. At this point Peaple could see his side getting an unlikely and so far elusive first win of the season.

“We were dominant in the scrums and upfront but unfortunately the young referee was penalising our forward play so we weren’t able to get good quick ball.”

The inability to work an advantage told as Thatcham broke through twice in quick succession as the game wore on.

Reflecting on the loss Peaple is resigned to Old Boys being unable to prevent a return to the Berks/Bucks & Oxon Premier.

“It might be too late now to get the points to avoid the drop but it’s been a worthwile experience, it’s shown the club and the players that this is level that we need to be aspiring to and attain.”