RUGBY UNION: Skipper insists St Neots must be at their fittest in the battle for survival

St Neots skipper Matt Cartwright. Picture: LEIGH CHATTEN

St Neots skipper Matt Cartwright. Picture: LEIGH CHATTEN - Credit: Archant

Skipper Matt Cartwright called on his St Neots team-mates to boost their fitness levels after their latest loss.

The Saints suffered a fourth defeat in five Midlands Division Three East (South) outings this season when going down 32-17 to high-flying Long Buckby last Saturday.

The scoreline was harsh on a St Neots side who produced arguably their best rugby of the season to hold a 17-10 advantage after an hour.

But the promotion-chasing visitors dominated the final quarter to take victory and leave Cartwright pondering what might have been.

The St Neots captain admitted: “As individuals we need to work on our fitness.

“We need to be able to play a whole match at the same intensity that we managed for 60 minutes in this game.

“If we can do that, I am confident we can compete with any team in this division.”

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Hooker Jack Haywood scored St Neots’ first try against Long Buckby with a catch and drive from a line-out before Cartwright picked up a loose ball and charged over for a second score to leave the teams deadlocked at 10-10 at half-time.

Replacement prop Josh Lofty then made a spell of Saints pressure pay off to go over for a converted try which put them into that seven-point cushion, but they were unable to repel Long Buckby in the final 20 minutes.

The Northamptonshire side ran in three tries to create a flattering final outcome.

St Neots remain second-bottom ahead of a crucial trip to the team directly above them, Northampton BBOB, this Saturday.