St Neots promotion bid thwarted by defeats to Oundle says coach Mick Cleary
12:08 26 March 2014
Despite a brilliant win over Bedford Swifts, St Neots’ chances of promotion this season are now just one point away from disappearing.
St Neots beat their Midlands Four East South opponents 44-17 at The Common but needed second-placed Oundle to flounder at home to
bottom-of-the-table Bourne in order to keep in touch in the race for the second automatic promotion spot. Oundle won 57-0.
“We should have beaten Oundle both times we played them and if we had done that we would have been promoted,” said coach Mick Cleary.
“We didn’t deserve to lose either of those games.”
In October, St Neots went to Oundle and lost 20-17, and in January, at home, they lost 19-14.
Cleary added: “Had we played like we did against Bedford on Saturday we would have beaten them twice. But we just weren’t on it when we needed to be.”
An administration error also cost the Saints a 10-point deduction this season, but Cleary said: “Even with the loss of those points, had we beaten Oundle twice we would be on course for promotion.”
Stefan Galluchi scored a hat-trick of tries in the win with Ed Strand, Phil Fernie, Marcus Wale and Scott Hardiman also touching down.
The aim now is to finish third and with games against Bourne and Corby in the coming weeks, the team should manage that. And then next season? “The aim is promotion,” said Cleary. “We will go for it again.”
Meanwhile, Huntingdon & District need just one more win for safety after beating Market Raisen & Louth 15-0 on Saturday.
Stags have three more games remaining in their first Midlands East One season after winning promotion and should pick up enough points from their games against Matlock, Newark or Old Northamptonians.
Wayne Bradley and Tad Chapman scored the tries that won the game at The Racecourse with Dan Malem adding the extra points with his boot.
St Ives, who still have four games left of their Midlands Three East South season, pulled off a great 39-0 win against an understrength Brackley side.
Jack Collins scored two tries, as did Mickey Drake, with Jack Blackley getting the other. Paul Ashbridge kicked four conversions and two penalties.