SUPERMARINE coach Sean Millwaters said his team never recovered from giving up a 17-point head start to league leaders Bradford-on-Avon on Saturday.

The South Marston side did pull back within point in the second half but a late try gave Bradford the win.

The loss marked the end of a bad seven days for Marine, last week they learned they would be deducted five points for fielding an ineligble player and Saturday’s loss means they are relying on other results to go in their favour if they are to win the league.

Marine are now five points behind Bradford and Minety but do still have a game in-hand. Millwaters stressed that his side did not perform poorly but that the visitors just had the edge defensively.

“You can’t give a team at the top of the league a 17-point start. They seemed like they’d done a bit of homework on us, their defence was outstanding.

“We got ourselves back into the game and at 17-10 at half-timeI thought ‘we’re back in this’. At 17-16 were in it but they opened us up for another try.

“Though you can’t afford 17 unanswered points against a side like Bradford, they played very well.”

All is not lost for Marine’s title hopes though.

Chippenham lost to Swindon 2nds and both Minety and Bradford have to travel to Allington Fields to play Chippenham before the season’s out.

The fixture list and confidence in his side gives Millwaters hope that Marine can still win the title.

“I’ve thought for a while that this whole league will be decided on the last day, we’re still sort of where I’d like us to be. We had a little bit of comfort blanket but after the points deduction and losing to Bradford we’ve lost that, now it’s about putting three wins together.”