A HARSH holding call cost Swindon Storm dear as they went down 21-14 away at Gloucester Centurions on Sunday afternoon.

After slipping 14-0 down early on Storm thundered back into the contest and were soon level thanks to a pair of rushing touchdowns from quarterback Dan Thorne.

Gloucester soon took the lead again, but it looked as though the Swindon side had once again levelled matters before a flag was thrown for holding by a member of the offensive line.

Neither team were able to score again during the final quarter, meaning the Storm players were forced to reflect on a call which hugely frustrated the visitors.

“We did well to come back into the game and we played pretty well, so it’s a real shame to lose,” Storm player Sam Mendoza said.

“We were obviously gutted to have a touchdown ruled out for holding like that because it was a wrong call to be honest and, speaking to their coach afterwards, he admitted it probably wasn’t a hold either. That doesn’t make you feel any better though.

“They beat us twice last season and we went into this one thinking we had a much better chance even though they’re a tough side.

“They have a lot of experienced guys but we showed we can compete and it shows how close the rest of the league is.”

Mendoza also reserved some praise for Paul Mellor, a member of the coaching staff who stepped into absent head coach Steve Bennett’s shoes for the contest.

“Paul was great and did a really good job running things for the team, especially given he doesn’t have that much experience,” he’s said.

“He’s really helped Steve and nailed it on Sunday, you couldn’t have asked anything more.”

Despite the loss, Mendoza insisted progress is being made at Storm with every week which passes.

“We can compete and we feel we can finish third in the league still, no question.” he said.

“Our target would have been to win more games than we did last year, four. We’ve got two already and we have winnable games coming up against new teams in the league.

“We have some tough games left but I certainly think we can get to five wins which would be a really good season.

“We’re improving every week and the rookies are getting on a lot more which is really good and will only help them progress.”