Cowley upbeat despite heavy St George defeat
5:30am Wednesday 4th June 2014 in By Tom Bassam, Chief sports writer
SWINDON St George captain George Cowley was far from disappointed despite his side’s 70-30 defeat to Cheltenham Old Patesians on Saturday.
St George rallied in the second half to put some serious points on this season’s table toppers and last year’s champions.
Old Pats dominated the early proceedings but in the second period the Greenbridge Road side started putting together some good attacking patterns to notch a late stream of tries.
The loss is St George’s second in a row and leaves them second bottom of the West of England Premier League. However captain Cowley has been encouraged by the parts of the performances in both games and the cohesian of the side.
“In the scheme of things it wasn’t too disappointing, they put over 100 points on us last season, they’re top of the league this season and it’s easy to see they’re a tough side,” Cowley.
“The first 40 the team were still in the car, we had plenty of time to prepare, but we weren’t at races.
“In the second half, once the guys stabilised and got focussed it was very different. We made a 20 minute statement which made me more than happy with the performance.
“The defensive line came up and the line speed improved, when we were attacking we were attacking with the set patterns we’d planned, whereas we were more one dimensional in the first half.
“The game’s won and lost at the collision point, if you’re being put five foot back in every tackle you’re not going to be encouraged to take it on. Throughout the game it was tit for tat, they had huge holes we were able to expose, but then the same went for them for us.”
Cowley was especially pleased with performance of Dave Swinburn, who got tries, along with Cowley himself, Matty Dickens and Macauley Reynolds. Killian Spain was reserved for special praise, as Cowley feels he could become a key player in the new look St George.
“Killian has played rugby league at a high level and that was his first game for us, he has an ability to turn defence into attack very quickly.”
On a more sour note St George were victims of a vindictive conman, who falsely presented himself as a representative from Cheltenham. He used that earned trust to gain entry and steal the team’s valuables from the dressing room during the match.
The team were left without several car keys and stranded in Cheltenham without wallets and phones.
Cowley, seeking positives from the situation said it served to bring the team further together.
“From a team perspective, there was a positive element that came about from it. It forced a side still getting to know each other to come together in an unforeseen way, and in a certain respect it puts a positive spin on it.”