It's make or break time for Swindon
SWINDON fly-half Adam Westall has labelled tomorrow’s visit to Reading as a must-win game if they have any aspirations of a top-three finish in South West 1 East.
The Greenbridge Road side have begun 2013 with defeats to Newbury Blues and Old Centralians, and now sit in fourth place 12 points behind tomorrow’s opponents in third.
Westall believes his side already have a lot of work to do to overhaul them, but admitted it would be almost impossible if they slumped to a third straight defeat in Berkshire.
“Reading are a good side and they are up there for a reason, and the league table doesn’t lie so we know we are going to be in for a tough game,” he said.
“We are 12 points behind them at the moment which will take some catching up, so this game is one we really have to win if we have any aspirations of finishing in the top three.
“The league has almost split into three now, with the top three, the middle four, and then the rest, and we want to be up there fighting.”
The run of tough games doesn’t let up for Swindon as they face Salisbury next week, and Westall knows January is going to be a tough month for his side.
“We always seem to have a tough January, and we need to find out why and sort it out if we are going to make any progress,” he said. “To be honest I think the next three months are all going to be tough, but we want to do well so need to play at our best.
“Reading still have to play against teams like Salisbury, Bracknell and Old Cents so they are going to drop points, and we need to get a good run going to take advantage.”
In Southern Counties South Wootton Bassett and Supermarine go head to head at Ballards Ash, and Bassett skipper David Martin believes both sides will target the match for a potential victory in their battle to avoid relegation.
“We are looking forward to the game because we have been building a bit of momentum recently, and we really feel we can try and push on and get ourselves away from the relegation scrap,” he said.
“During the season we have realised there are certain games we can target to win and this is one of them, although I am sure they will be targeting the match too.
“Last time we played each other (Bassett won 31-6) we both went into it on bad runs, but I think both teams have moved on a bit since then so it should be a good game.”
Swindon College Old Boys head coach Mark Roshier has called for maximum points from his side’s home clash with Harwell tomorrow as they look to keep up their promotion challenge.
Victory in their opening Berks/Bucks and Oxon Premier game of 2013 at Gosford All Blacks last weekend leaves the Nationwide Pavillion side third in the table, five points behind Chipping Norton in the final promotion spot.
Harwell currently sit second bottom, and while Roshier is not expecting an easy ride he insisted his side need to pick up a bonus point victory just to keep them in the hunt.
“It is probably a game we should be winning, but paper doesn’t turn up and play the game for you,” he said.
“At the end of the day when we look at the league table we are still upset with the game we lost to Hungerford, because it is one which shouldn’t have happened.
“If we can manage to go unbeaten in all our games and still have Chipping Norton and Stow to play we could have a chance, and even if we can beat Chipping Norton I still think we need to pick up all our bonus points and rely on some other teams to help us by taking points off them.
“We have to beat Harwell and pick up the bonus point to stay in there, and then we need to pray that Chipping Norton don’t pick up theirs. I can’t see them losing the game but I can see them maybe not getting maximum points, and that needs to happen for us.”
Old Boys are keen to move up the rugby ladder, but bad experiences playing for Wootton Bassett has led Roshier to approach with caution.
“We do want promotion, but my experiences with Wootton Bassett tell me that if you do go up you need to do it as champions, because then the following season you know there are at least two games you should win.
“We have to take our chances, and we feel we have a chance.
“Stow are running away at the top of the league, and to be honest we are probably all playing for second place.”