COACH Neil Loader hailed Swindon’s hunger after a spectacular last-gasp try saw them grab a bonus point at home to Swanage & Wareham on Saturday.
Leading 22-6 going into the closing stages of the South West 1 East clash at Greenbridge Road, Loader’s men turned a lineout 12 metres from their own line into a flowing attack that eventually resulted in Dan McCarthy feeding Tom Mannion to go over.
Adam Westall’s conversion secured a 29-6 win for the home side and Loader revealed his delight at the manner of the late try.
“What was impressive for me was that the boys thought, ‘let’s go for it, we can only attack from here’,” he said.
“They wanted to get the bonus point and their attitude really impressed me.
“It would have been so easy at 22-6 up for us to kick the ball off, go home and have a pint, but they went for it.
“We’re a side that will do that, we always talk to the guys about using the expectations of the opposition against them, and when we attacked we caught the opposition with their pants down.”
Swindon took the lead just three minutes in when the ball was released from a ruck and Jordan Sheppard stormed clear to touch down under the posts, with Westall adding the extras.
A penalty from wing Charlie Rowberry soon after reduced the advantage, but another try from Sheppard wide out in the corner, coupled with a later penalty from Westall, made it 15-3 at half time.
Shortly after the resumption, Rowberry slotted a penalty between the sticks, but the hosts were in no mood to let Swanage back into it.
With 15 minutes to go, number eight Tom Mannion picked up from the base of the scrum and burrowed over the line, Westall again adding the conversion.
In the closing minutes, Swindon broke out of defence and eventually number eight Mannion touched down from flanker McCarthy’s measured pass.
“It was very scrappy. Everything they thought Swanage would bring, they did,” added Loader.
“They tried to create absolute havoc, slow down our possession and played quite negatively in my opinion.
“It turned into a really frustrating game, because unfortunately we weren’t able to play our game.
“They were able to get away with a few things at the breakdown in particular, and we felt the referee’s interpretation of the law was different to ours.
“But sometimes you have to grow up and get on with it and five points was massively pleasing for sure.”
- In National League 3 South West, Chippenham fell to a 25-12 defeat at Barnstaple.
All of our local sides competing in cup competitions at the weekend had their respective knockout campaigns brought to an end.
- Wootton Bassett lost 33-8 to Devizes in the Dorset & Wilts Intermediate Cup quarter-finals, with Tim Gallimore touching down and Grant Murdoch kicking a penalty. Supermarine’s match at Weymouth in the same competition was a home walkover.
- Swindon College Old Boys were defeated 23-9 at home to Westbury in the last eight of the Dorset & Wilts Senior Vase.
- In the quarters of the Dorset & Wilts Junior Vase, Cricklade were edged out 20-19 at Puddletown.
National League 3 South West: Barnstaple 25 Chippenham 12.
South West 1 East: Swindon 29 Swanage & Wareham 6.
Dorset & Wilts Intermediate Cup (quarter-finals): Weymouth HWO Supermarine, Wootton Bassett 8 Devizes 33.
Dorset & Wilts Senior Vase (quarter-finals): Pewsey Vale 8 Marlborough 27, Swindon College Old Boys 23 Westbury 9.
Dorset & Wilts Junior Vase: Puddletown 20 Cricklade 19.