'The pressure is on Bracknell'
FLY-HALF Adam Westall believes all the pressure is on big-spending Bracknell as Swindon prepare to face the South West 1 East leaders tomorrow.
Bracknell lead Old Centralians by a single point at the top of the table as the league resumes after a one-week break, while Swindon go into the showdown at Lily Hill Park in third place following their last-gasp victory over Witney last time out.
The Berkshire side have a healthy budget at their disposal which dwarfs that of other sides in the league, but while Westall accept Bracknell are overwhelming favourites he believes their riches will only heap the pressure on them tomorrow.
“Any side top of the league on their home patch will be massive favourite, but we will go there looking at damage limitation to a certain extent, and they we will see from there,” he said.
“But Old Cents picked up something there which proves they are beatable, so the pressure is all on them really.
“They have a £300,000 budget I think and they want to fly through the leagues, so I enjoy playing against teams like that to be honest because we really have nothing to lose.
“You always hear on the grapevine what club’s budgets are and how much they are paying, and I have seen sides like Newbury go up and then come all the way back down again.
“Four years ago Newbury were playing Northampton in the Championship, and now they are playing Swindon at Greenbridge Road after they fell from grace.
“I wish them all the best if a team can go out and spend £300,000 and maintain a standard worthy of that much money, and that is Championship level.
“There are not many clubs that make money in rugby and that includes the Premiership, and you can’t do it unless there are thousands of people watching you which is not going to happen at this level.”
The Greenbridge Road side have had a habit of giving their opponents a headstart in recent weeks, but Westall knows there will be no coming back if they do the same tomorrow.
“We would never get it back if we start slowly again, because they have seven ex-army players in their side, and most of them are National League players being paid decent incentives,” he said.
“You can’t give those sort of players 20-point leads because they would absolutely wrap it up.
“We need to soak up the pressure a little bit, and at home we know our pitch and can chuck it around a little, but sometimes away from home we throw it around and we can lose our way.
“We could let sides have the ball for 20 minutes and ask them to give it what they have got and focus on our defence, and with sides I have played for in the past that is what we have done.”
Elsewhere in local fixtures, Supermarine host relative neighbours Devizes in Southern Counties South, while Wootton Bassett are also at home, this time to Wimborne.
Swindon College Old Boys face struggling Risborough in the Berks/Bucks & Oxon Premier while Chippenham welcome London Irish Wild Geese in National League 3 South West.
Lower down the ladder in Dorset & Wilts 1 North, Marlborough entertain Trowbridge 2nds and Minety take on Melksham.
Two games take place involving local sides in Dorset & Wilts 2 North, with Cricklade travelling to Corsham 2nds and Fairford going to Swindon College Old Boys 2nds.