SWINDON College Old Boys were within 10 seconds of their first win of the Southern Counties North season on Saturday but in the end they had to make do with the all-too-familiar feeling of defeat.
Milton Keynes scored with a penalty with the final kick of the match at Pipers Way to claim a 32-30 victory, leaving chairman Martin Peaple and the rest of the Old Boys set-up “gutted”.
However, Peaple was quick to seize on the positives, which included a two bonus point haul and the fact College kept so close to success against a side challenging for third place in the league table.
“You can’t get a lot closer than that,” he told the Advertiser. “It was nip and tuck all the way through the game. It was a close game, a good game and you can’t do much more than that. We get the two bonus points for it but it is gutting for everyone who was involved in it a little bit, especially after having to forfeit the Stow game.
“I think we’re the third highest bonus points scorer in the league, which shows how close we are to the other teams in the league but unfortunately we’re not getting across to the win.
“We’re so close and yet so far but it was a good game, they weren’t a bad team and we played really well. You can’t moan about anything, it just shows that we’re there or thereabouts but we don’t quite have the cutting edge at the moment to convert those near-misses into wins.”
Joe Gill registered first for Old Boys, kicking a drop goal and a penalty to put his side 6-3 in front before Tommy Farr was sinbinned.
Milton Keynes took advantage of their superior numbers to take a 15-6 lead into half-time but Old Boys, restored to full strength, came out strongly after the break.
Dan Cooper made the most of a yellow card to a MK player, to reduce arrears but the visitors responded with a converted try.
Another Milton Keynes sinbinning cued Michael Bizley to go over for College’s second try and, having then fallen 29-16 behind, Adam Reeves crossed the whitewash before a penalty try put Old Boys 30-29 going into the final seconds.
In the end, however, the away side had the last laugh and Peaple & Co are now staring relegation squarely in the face.
“We took plenty of bonuses out of it because we’re still taking those people out of our second team at level seven and bringing them in,” said Peaple.
“Everybody is stepping up so we’ve got to be sensible about it. I think you can say that the inevitable is we will slide down into the next level at the end of the season but we just need to manage that, keep it going and keep breaking in the players from the twos.”